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SPRING 2007  · DECEMBER 2006 · JULY-AUG 2006 · APRIL--MAY 2006 · FEBRUARY 2006
In the Shadows · The Brute · The War on Terror · Black Beaches · War · Images from Lebanon · The Neocons · Iran and Lebanon · Regime of Injustice · Where's Osama? · GATS · Lamont v Lieberman · Words of Hope · Open Letter to Bush

Click above, for articles in this issue.


How Iran Lost Lebanon and the U.S. Inherited Another Nightmare

by Joe Trento 


The Kabuki show being carried out by Secretary of State Rice and the Speaker of the Lebanese Parliament, Nabih Berri, during their meeting on July 24 requires a reality check.  Berri is not the helpful Lebanese negotiating partner that news reports of Rice’s stage-managed world would suggest.  Rather, he is a longtime tool of the United States’ intelligence community and has served as a go between for Republican Administrations to Iran since the early 1980s.  He has been a paid U.S. intelligence asset and members of the his family have been resettled in the United States as part of his deal with the CIA according, to top-level intelligence sources.


Useful insight into the situation in Lebanon comes from an email message I received recently from an American-born Islamic terrorist who lives in Tehran who has been a reliable source over the years.  The source, Dawud Salahuddin (born David Belfield) is an African-American who was originally recruited by Iran to kill the former press spokesman for the Shah of Iran outside Washington in 1980. 


After the murder, Salahuddin was inexplicably allowed to escape to Tehran.  He later fought in Afghanistan and carried out numerous intelligence missions for Iran’s revolutionary government over the last 26-years.  He also played a major role in preventing an assassination attempt against President Clinton during the President’s visit to Bosnia in 1996 by providing warnings that allowed the Secret Service and military to limit Clinton’s exposure.  It is well worth noting  what Salahuddin says because he understands Iranian thinking far better than any couch-bound pundit you will hear pontificating on the cable networks. 


Salahuddin wrote from Tehran on July 26:


“… I did notice Citizen Nabih with Secretary Rice but don't think that Hezbollah is surprised with his age-old affiliations. Bear in mind the historical sequences of Shi'a militia groups/political parties. It starts with Amal in the late 70s co-founded by the disappeared Musa Sadr (Iranian origin), Mustapha Chamran (Iranian origin and an outstanding person) and Nabih Berri.


“In 1981 following the disappearance of Sadr and the death of Chamran in the Iraq war, Amal splits into Amal and the counterpart Islamic-Amal led primarily by young clerics who did not like Nabih's worldly, secular ways--stark cultural differences--after all he is a Paris trained lawyer. Islamic-Amal morphed into Hezbollah with the 1982 Israeli invasion and has remained so ever since. You might remember some pretty heavy fighting between the two sides in the mid 1980s--so I don't think Hezbollah would be very surprised by his [Berri’s] American associations.



“On the [current] Sunni-Shi’a war in Iraq [I] believe it to be a prelude to the division of that country into three distinct states--one of those behind[-]the[-]curtain US-Saud dealings that has gulf Arab support because of the sizable Shi’a populations in all the UAE states and even Kuwait (20-25% is probably the proportioning of Shi’a in Saudi) so nobody wants to see a Shi’a dominated state in Iraq and the implications of that with Iran next door.


“And far from the oil states delivering anything to Hezbollah I believe the ruling elites to be complicit with the Israelis simply because they can't afford to be seen as being outdone by Hezbollah and even Hamas--both non-state volunteer actors with very limited resources--in being anti-Zionist and it is much easier for them and Egypt too [sic] have them eliminated which I am sure was a good part of the Saudi Foreign Minister's visit to Washington.


“Meanwhile the Iranians sit sullen and perhaps now understand just what they gave away with Ahmadinejad's "wipe Israel off the map" rhetoric--the very keys to the destruction of Hezbollah in which the Americans are playing a hyper, pro-active role and the utter destruction of Lebanon for the second time in 25 years, ensuring that the Americans will now rule that roost if anyone dares to reinvest in its re-building. And all the while the Saudi 900-pound gorilla gets on with dismembering Iraq with the US talking of building and strengthening of nascent democracy but in fact complicit in that country's division.”


Interestingly, Salahuddin’s greatest concerns come in response to the Washington Post’s scary recent story about a new Pakistani plutonium facility now under construction. While experts we have spoken to say the claims in the story that the plant can produce the fissile material for up to 50 warheads a year is an exaggeration (more likely 10-20 a year) the news is still dire. While the Bush Administration claims Pakistan to be a friend, intelligence sources we have been in contact with state flatly that the Taliban and al Qaeda are being protected by the all-powerful Pakistani intelligence service – the ISA. David Armstrong, our nuclear expert and colleague at the National Security News Service, has strong new evidence that the U.S. government was complicit in the Pakistani nuclear program going back to the 1970’s.


Salahuddin’s take on the Pakistani plutonium facility was simple: “…if any one has any smarts, they will vaporize the Pakistani facility immediately if it is not already too late.”


You can learn much more about Nabih Berri in an upcoming book Susan Trento and I co-authored, Unsafe At Any Altitude, which will be published by Steerforth Press this October.


If you want to get a look at Dawud Salahuddin, he played the kindly doctor in the critically acclaimed 2001 film Kandahar, which dramatically shows the brutality of the Taliban’s cruelty. The film is available on video and shows up on cable.  In the film – which is based on real events – Salahuddin’s character Tabib Sahib is a fugitive African-American who went to Afghanistan to find God. Salahuddin took the acting name of Hassan Tantai.


Copyright © 2003-2006 Public Education Center, Inc. All rights reserved. This essay is herein reprinted with the author's permission.


Joe Trento has spent more than 35 years as an investigative journalist, working with both print and broadcast outlets and writing extensively on national security issues. Before joining the National Security News Service in 1991, Trento worked for CNN's  Special Assignment Unit, the Wilmington News Journal, and prominent journalist Jack Anderson. Trento has received six Pulitzer nominations and is the author of five books, the most recent of which is The Secret History of the CIA. He regularly publishes a blog at


Posted  August 05, 2006

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