Lebanon News

Damning videos of Samaha sting emerge

File - Picture shows former Information Minister Michel Samaha, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

BEIRUT: Lebanese watched with shock and horror Thursday night as local TV channels broadcast videos showing former Minister Michel Samaha and police informant Milad Kfoury discussing plans to carry out bombings targeting Lebanese religious figures and politicians.

The footage was taken by a hidden camera that Kfoury carried during several meetings with Samaha.

In one of the videos, taken at Samaha’s house in the Beirut neighborhood of Ashrafieh, the former minister says that preachers in north Lebanon, whom he describes as “thugs,” should be targeted with bombs.

He also hands Kfoury money in return for carrying out the attacks, and assures him that he will be protected after the plan is implemented.

In a second video, Samaha was more precise regarding the targets of the operation, stating that Akkar MP Khaled Daher should be killed.

“You can kill MPs, Khaled Daher, his brother,” Samaha said.

A third video shows Samaha moving explosives from his car into Kfoury’s in the parking lot of the former minister’s house in Ashrafieh.

Excerpts of the dialogue from the three videos is transcribed below.

Video One

Video one begins with Kfoury, who does not appear, speaking to Samaha. Dressed in a polo shirt and pants, Samaha walks, then sits facing Kfoury, in what appears to be a living room, and hands him a nylon bag containing money.

Samaha listens to Kfoury and often nods, while eating prickly pears from a bowl on a table.

Samaha (handing Kfoury the money bag): Here is the money.

Kfoury (taking a stack of dollars from the bag): One hundred seventy? One hundred seventy thousand [dollars]? Should I count them?

Samaha: As you wish.

Kfoury: Or you think there is no need [to count them]?

Samaha: There is no need.

Kfoury (returning the money to the bag): Okay there is no need ... My only interest is that things will go well.

Samaha: We will head down in a bit. You bring your car down. Twenty kilos [of explosives], in pairs.

Kfoury: Twenty kilos each, two together?

Samaha (nodding): ... You also have around 50 kilos or more, each 20 or each 30 packaged together.

Kfoury: All made of TNT?

Samaha: Yes.

Kfoury: You know I should have brought another car.

Samaha: In what car did you come?

Kfoury: I came with the small car; I did not know that ...

Samaha: You have to check if any of the supplementary charges is missing, as I don’t know [about] these issues.

Kfoury: Did he send the pistols?

Samaha (nodding): They are preparing them for me.

Kfoury: All the explosives are ready. Did they send us the detonators?

Samaha: They sent you the detonators.

Kfoury: Okay great.

Samaha: When I go and come back I will bring more.

Kfoury: I have prepared the implementation phase, in principle. But you are a dear brother and I will tell you something I hope you will understand.


Kfoury: You know the difficulty of this for me.

(Samaha nods)

Kfoury: All I care about is that Maj. Gen. Ali [Mamlouk] and President [Assad] are the only ones who know about this.

Samaha: Only two people know, Ali and the president.

Kfoury: How can I be protected in case something happens? Is my protection secured? This is something I should ask you about because you know I have a family.

Samaha (waving his hand in assurance): [You will be a] hundred percent [protected].

Samaha (speaking about the targets): [Do] what obstructs their command and control, their security of movement. The possibility of targeting weapons and ammunition and gatherings of [Syrian rebel] fighters is open.

Samaha (waving his hand in a show of indifference): Collateral damage is allowed.

Kfoury: I have told you that sheikhs will be attending, Sunni sheikhs.

Samaha: So be it ... let them stop attending.

Kfoury: So if there were Sunni Sheikhs, then we need to get rid of them?

Samaha (nodding): Particularly the thugs, like Ali and Abdel-Al.

Video TwoIn the second video, Samaha, wearing a bathrobe and sitting in what appears to be his summer house in the Metn village of Khinshara, clearly states to Kfoury the goals of the operation.

Samaha: You have iftar banquets – you can kill MPs, [Akkar MP] Khaled Daher, his brother, some of the major leaders of the Free Syrian Army, a gathering of Syrian gunmen at a certain place.

Samaha: You can target roads they take two or three times so that they receive a blow and never dare to move on roads again. These are the targets.

Video ThreeIn the third video, Samaha and Kfoury head to the parking lot of the former minister’s house in Ashrafieh, where Kfoury is provided with the explosives.

Samaha: These are the detonators, these are the bombs, these are the timers, and the TNT is here.

Kfoury: Okay, let’s close this bag, can it be closed?

Samaha: It can be closed.

Kfoury: These are like mines.

Samaha: You asked for them.

Kfoury: Yes that’s true. Can you carry [the bags]?

Samaha: Yes I can.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on May 15, 2015, on page 2.




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