Confessions & The Question Why

The requests by the critics in the last few days concerning the government providing evidence to the people have been answered. Confessions of the detained Hamas members were aired on JTV in addition to a presentation of their arsenal.

(On another note it was interesting to see Al-Jazeera put the word “confessions” between quotes (both in English and Arabic), which in my mind implies they’re not “real”. It’s just a word the Jordanians invented for the purpose of deception. It was kind of funny I guess)

From the Washington Post:

Ayman Naji Daraghmeh, 34, said in his confession that Hamas had instructed him to watch a certain Jordanian intelligence officer, but he did not explain why the group wanted the officer monitored.

“They said this officer has harmed the movement,” said Daraghmeh, who had a long beard and looked relaxed in his videotape. He said a fellow Hamas operative managed to take some “quick photos” of the intelligence officer. Daraghmeh then took these pictures to Hamas in Syria, where he received training in personal security and “resisting interrogation,” he said.

Detainee Ahmad Abu Rabee, 27, said in his confession that Daraghmeh had ordered him to “monitor a bus of the intelligence department” in an Amman district. He said he watched the bus “three or four times,” and reported to Daraghmeh the times of the day that the bus transported the intelligence personnel.

“I understood from Ayman (Daraghmeh) that they had planned to target the bus,” he said, his hand shaking in the videotaped confession.

also…

He said Daraghmeh had also asked him to “gather information on foreign tourists” in the Jordanian resort of Aqaba and to monitor an unidentified Jordanian businessman. Abu Thiyab said Daraghmeh thought the businessman was a Jew, but he was actually a Christian.

Abu Thiyab did not speak of any plans for attacks, saying Daraghmeh told him his activities were “in the service of God and Islam.”

The Hamas response has been so far along the lines of…

“It is not difficult for the (Jordanian) intelligence service to get a person to dig in front of the cameras and extract weapons that have been buried by an unknown body. I wouldn’t be surprised if the intelligence service itself did this,” Hamdan told the pan-Arab satellite channel Al-Arabiya. “It is not difficult to bring people, torture them, punish them and force them … to record such statements.”

Which is dangerously close to what I predicted yesterday

Iâ??ll be interested to see what information is revealed in these confessions but I know for a fact less than 1% of the people will change their minds. The first thing theyâ??ll say is â??torturedâ?, take my word for it.

So now there are two ways to approach this; either one denies the evidence or accepts it with scepticism. In the latter certain questions arise: the first being what Hamas has to gain from attacking Jordanian Intelligence members or recruiting Jordanians into the organization. I would be so bold to assume the answers were a little obvious. Well suffice to say with the recent Hamas rise to politics the tides are turning and paradigms are shifting. Who would’ve thought Hamas would’ve ever run and win in a Palestinian election? The JIS doesnâ??t have many fans; they are notoriously known throughout the region for what they do and how well they do it. They are basically the first defence against domestic and foreign terrorism.

Anyways, this generally takes us down the path of what is to be gained and what is to be lost.

But the question should be rephrased in my opinion from â??why would they?â?? into â??why wouldn’t they?â??; the same way it should’ve been rephrased years ago when people first questioned why Al-Queda would ever want to attack Jordan. 11/9 has come and gone and people are still living in the daze of â??why?!â?? the exact same question Americans asked after 9/11. And the only response (or ‘justification’) we were offered by the masterminds of both attacks was that we were paying a price for our government’s policies. The only difference between the two societies was that Jordanians had a much better understanding of the “why”, it’s just the outcome that was so pathetic and undesirable.

We are basically asking questions but we grapple more over the answers and how far we are willing to accept them because I think we still live in that state of denial and even if the people we want answers from Рbe they the Jordanian government or Hamas or what have you ̢?? provide them we would still find a way to brush them aside casually since they don̢??t fit in with our current accepted reality. These social paradigms we hold on to with all our might need to be desperately shifted before it̢??s too late and we, as a younger generation, squander the opportunity to acknowledge and accept the new and changing realities instead of holding on to the old and static.

Thought Is Free...

22 Comments

  1. I noticed this quotation issue all over the place. It’s on stories from AP and other wire services. It’s a real disservice to whoever you are covering because, as you rightly point out, it somehow insinuates untruthfullness such that you want to isolate yourself from the announcement. They are better ways to do it, like: Jordanian Gov’t: Detainees confess to crime — and many others. It’s unfair to do it any other way and bottom line, it’s bad journalism. Jordanian has enough bad press and missteps with the press all on its own without this kind of business. But I guess the gap between what they say and what people believe that to mean has grown so large that the press feels free to pull this crap.

  2. Well your whole post and line of thought is summed up at the end of your ramblings…..your equating 11/9 and Al Qaida with Hamas, which is basically the Israeli line of argument. Enough said about you.

  3. markus, if hamas carried out an attack on Jordanian soil it would be easily equatable in the Jordanian context with one word: terrorism. So what’s the difference between the two in the Jordanian context? Nothing. The outcome is the same. Ceteris paribus of course.

    if that is the main conclusion that you drew from my ramblings then you should seriously consider giving it a second read.

  4. Nas,

    The Jordanian government has a record of fabricating security-related stories: they brought in a false witness who is a German citizen (Palestinian origin I think) against Laith Shbeilat. Surprise, the accusation was security-related and the German government threatend the Jordanian one that if the witness statement is not withdrawn (which was taken under coersion) the relationship between Jordan and Germany will deteriorate. Jordanian abided.

    The governmnet also fabricated a weapons cache for the Syndicates (naqabat) when they were opposing normalizing ties with Israel and it was wrestling with them.

    Remember also the Al-Qaeda truck of chemicals they inteded to burn all Amman with approximately two years ago? People didn’t believe it then either.

    The GID has a long history of fabricating security related incidents – for this what it is best at doing. It certainly is the master of the trade in anything security, and given that Hamas is a political movement everywhere except in occupied Palestine, the GID find difficulty in facing Hamas on a grounds that it is unfamiliar with (political/intellectual) so it reverts to its trade – security fabrication.

  5. Gafgafa, I’d be interested in seeing the evidence you have to support any of those claims other than the standard response of “it’s a well known fact”. That would be great, thanks.

  6. Nas,

    Your arguement for a change from “Why” to “Why not” is that essentially, a paragidmatic shift has occured in Hamas’ thinking after it changed from opposition to government. This is the same as saying that a paradigmatic shift occurs when a poor man becomes rich overnight – they do not, anymore, feel the same towards money.

    You are saying that, once Hamas came to power the paradigmatic shift was such that it no more felt the same way about retraint towards Jordan – it unleashed its newly earned prowess in revenge just like it did with Fatah,

    The problem with this proposition is that an elected government does not behave in the same way as an autocratic one. The autocratic government feels the need for restrain up and until the point is feels the seat is warn under it. For, as the place is secured, the autocrat does not need anyone else’s legitimacy because they are sheilded from the people by virtue of their powerful army, intelligence…etc.

    An elected government on the other hand, cannot behave in such a way. The paradigmatic shift comes at a price, albeit a delayed price that is paid at the next ballot box. A movement/party that has articulated a clear long term agenda for itself (the propagation of the Islamic doctrine by raising a new generation, the destruction of Israel by a long war of attrition) and worked at it from the first nucleus has a long term vision. It will not be foolish enough to burn itself from the first couple of months in office, especially when it knows very well the long term consequences on its agenda.

    To further refute the presence of a paradigmatic shift, Hamas has so far refused to accept Israel’s right to exist, and was not enticed, or coerced into doing that. The paradigmatic shift idea suggests that Hamas should’ve seen all its previous problems of funding, international recognition…etc solved overnight if it accepted a change in its paradigms (and it can be done subtely if it intended to do that).

    So I do not see why the paradigmatic shift is justified in the case of an elected government like Hamas, and the evidence shows otherwise. Paradigmatic shift is certainly likely in the case of an autocratic one government, but as we in the Arab World are so used to autocrats, maybe we need a paradigmatic shift ourselves to become used to the behaviour of elected and accountable governments – which Hamas is.

  7. Jordan (Gafgafa), that “shifting paradigm” I was refering to involved social thinking in Jordan and not Hamas, please read that paragraph again if you will. The shift I am refering to involves people begining to think a little outside the box before another attack happens by any group. In other words instead of holding on to this now ancient tradition of denying everything as being impossible based on our memory of a static past, we should be accepting new realities in this new environment that we’re in.

    Also to assume that Hamas has moved from an armed resistance organization into a political entity and that nothing has changed in the process of it’s approach would be a tragic and misguided assumption.

    thanks for the comment :-)

  8. About Laith Shobailat, you can read this here:

    http://www.arabtimes.com/osama/Doc64.htm

    Or, if you are in Jordan and have your government blocking that newspaper via a proxy, you can read the story on Google’s cache at:

    http://72.14.207.104/search?q=cache:hyTxzHnyeKgJ:www.arabtimes.com/osama/Doc64.htm+%D9%84%D9%8A%D8%AB+%D8%B4%D8%A8%D9%8A%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%AA+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B9%D9%82%D9%8A%D8%AF+%D9%88%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%81%D8%B6%D9%8A%D8%AD%D8%A9&hl=en&gl=jo&ct=clnk&cd=1

    No English translation is available

  9. Nas, it seems I was offering my own interpretation of events and refuting it.

    But our ‘memory of a static past’ should not be discounted with a hand wave either. The past is always used to predict the future, albeit with acknowledgement that one cannot drive while looking in the back mirror.

    You disconnect the past from the present by saying that a shift did happen in the way events occur, and that we ought to catch up with it before its too late. Yet somethings in human nature and in politics have not evolved for as long as human history can record – treachery, deceit, public ignorance, spin doctoring, propaganda…etc. All those things have not changed for it to merit a ‘paradigmatic shift’ in public thinking about them. Governments still act in very much the same they did during the Roman times.

    Now, even if you dispute that, we should not forget that Hamas itself is made of constituents that are in turn human beings. Its constituents thinking evolves certainly but not overnight, so for them to suddenly change their mode of thinking is unlikely. This means there is nothing to merit a paradigmatic shift in our thinking towards Hamas the moment it comes into power.

    Paradigmatic shifts in thinking merit a paradigmatic shift in the ‘opponents’ thinking itself, and this is unlikely to happen overnight in the ‘opponents’ mind because group thinking works in a very different way to individual thinking (which can indeed change its paradigm overnight, like Walid Jumblatt – not that many of his followers left him and did not follow his sudden swing, this is group thinking). This is what i am trying to say.

  10. Smart Question .
    in my opnion Hamas today is different than Hamas we know befor 2 years ago!
    lets try to remeber and think:
    1- Hamas befor 2 years ago was attacking isreal, hamas did not make any attack since more than 1 year and a half.
    2- Hamas befor 2 years ago was always trying to avoid any kind of clash with “Fateh” and “Soltah” , while thesedays we hear everyday about clashing and fighting between Hamas and Fathe.
    3- Hamas befor 2 years ago to indictment any phlastinian that he is agent for israel, while today Khaled mes3al said it directly “the president of soltah and Fateh is an agent to usa and israel.
    4- Hamas befor 2 years was avioding and serious relationship with iran ,while today some poiliticals said “hamas is an iranian card,that iran play with it against usa ” .
    5- hamas we know befor ever accept any peace agreement with isreal depend on the 1967 occupied land, today Hamas accept it.
    6- Hamas befor on the opposition side as u said, while today Hamas is the government side .

    note:i can write other 10 pages to prove that hamas today is different than befor, but sorry i have to go now :)
    sallmzzzzzz

  11. A, if you could find anything that is from a reliable news source instead of the national enquirer that would be great. :-D

    gafgafa I understand what you are trying to say, and yes somethingâ??s don’t change such as government’s lying but at the same time people have not changed either is what I’m getting at. In 2003 no one believed AlQueda would attack Jordan despite the government showing all the evidence of the materials used and the confessions. The reasoning was that it was absurd that AlQueda would ever attempt to target Jordanian citizens on such a massive scale when their fight was elsewhere. Now what if the GID had stopped 11/9 from happening had produced the weapons and confessions on TV, would people still believe the government was lying? Most certainly yes.

    The credibility or believability of the government and the GID was never greater than in the days which followed 11/9 and the capture of Sajidah and her confession on TV. So the formula required for people to believe the government is that an attack should happen but a few people captured and put on TV. This of course doesn’t work simply because while believability is important to the government, national security is more important. The GID is an organization whose successes are private and failures are public.

    As for Hamas changing over night, it hasn’t. It’s been changing for awhile now. And like I said before to go from a strictly armed resistance movement that more or less shunned politics straight into a leadership role of Palestinian politics in a nosedive fashion, and then say they havn’t changed a bit, would be a great miscalculation on our part. This I say as a side note, I don’t know how relevent it is to the broader context of discussion we are having here. It appears Hamas may be a bit decentralized, perhaps to the point where the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing. But that’s just my assumption/theory.

  12. Purely on the issue of quotation marks.

    Jordan is the country of choice internationally to which to send persons to confess anything you’d like them to confess. Baer (CIA) mentioned specifically this feature of Jordan intelligence capabilities as a much appreciated speciality.

    But since this has publicly come to be known so well (at least outside of Jordan it seems), any confession that can be traced back to Jordan isn’t a confession, but a “confession” and after the televized “confession” after torture of “would-be suicide-bomber” Sajida Al Rishawi, any attempt by the press to sell confessions out of Jordan as something to do with reality will cost them dearly in their credibility ratings.

    You’d have to disguise the story, let stuff out, use suggestive wording, hide behind the ‘officials said’ mode and essentially say nothing you can’t deny afterwards to be able to sell the crap without the quotation marks.

  13. To confirm Albert Bakker’s post, the CIA calls the GID ‘everyone’s favourite cousin’ (refer to Bob Woodward’s CIA book published in the 1980s). They are ‘efficient’ at getting ‘confessions’.

    Nas: “to think a little outside the box”, refer to ajloun.blogspot.com to see the comments written there about two alternative plausible stories – that is thinking about the box instead of seconding the official story and taking it without criticism.

    You are committing a falacy of analogy by comparing Hamas’ thinking with that of Al-Qaeda because you do not allure to any proof to the existence of the analogy, meaning that there is nothing to point to that can show both think in the same way. The parallel simply does not exist.

  14. Actually Abu Daraghmeh didn’t mistakenly thought “Salameh Khouri” a Jew. What the mosque Imam said that while Daraghmeh getting to know him he asked him where does he work, and he mentions Khouri’s farms were he worked for the last ten years. Daraghmeh asked him: What do you know about this Khaouri man? He said, all I know he’s Christian. So Daraghmeh told him no, he’s actually an Israeli and a Jew.

    I really wonder why did they have to annouce the man’s name! It was not smart from the security forces or the press.

    I’m still shocked why many are not believing the government’s story!

    I mean Jordan announced about the thing, Hamas denied, then they asked them to come to Jordan and present what they have, Hamas refused. So the government got no other option but to show the evidence to people! Yet they are still arguing!

    I would like to ask all those who are siding with Hamas: Why they are refusing to clear things up, but rather speak generally and accuse the Jordanian government of fabricating the whole thing, if so then present solid evidence rather (It’s a known fact) thing.

  15. I like that citing of the Arab Times earlier as a legitimate source of a story. That was good. I needed a good laugh to start the weekend. The national enquirer indeed…

  16. Nas: I expect you to have a better sense of justice. The Government has played a heavily edited and doctored film of ‘confessions’ and expects everyone to be satisfied with this half-proof. This is not the way justice works. The accused has to be cross-examined by a defense lawyer in a court in front of a just aribatrator. Unfortunately, in the ‘confessions’ there is a lack of a defense lawyer(for cross-examination) and the just arbitrator. Further, the fact that the ‘confessions’ were not aired live but rather heavily edited and pre-recorded makes them highly suspectible to valid criticism.

    Surely, if the government was so certain of its catch, why not let a third independent body interrogate or cross-examine them to verify those claims? Why does the GID feel the need to give a half-hearted effort at providing the proof? It still thinks the people’s intelligence is below the need for a full blown and uncontestible proof?

    You can dismiss the need to reveal all the information and allow cross-examination on grounds of national security, but this is a catch-22: for if the government needs to convince a skeptical people and be just it has to provide the whole story and allow independent verification. But to provide the story and to allow an independent body to verify is to breach the national security. The catch-22 will prevent the set-up of a fair trial then, and as such, the accused can be acquited because no fair trial can be guaranteed, and in such a case, it is the government’s that failed, yet again.

    My suggestion is that we drop national security because there is a bigger problem than that, which is the lack of credibility and trust between the people and the government. If you are suggesting the balancing of priorities, then I suggest that national security is dropped this time in order to help the country not enter into a deadlock and into a civil tension which can, in future generations, erupt.

    It is time the government, with its bad handling of this file (especially the arrogant, prep-school material Nasser Joudeh), to take the initiative and explain to the people – for once – what really happened.

    About the lack of a defense lawyer, whatever happened to the ‘right to remain silent, anything you say or do shall be, and will be used against you in a court of law’. Were those individuals given the right to call in a lawyer? Were their rights read to them before being arrested? I doubt it. They were probably shit-scared that they told the GID whatever the GID wanted to hear, and added a bit more.

  17. The Informer: you can laugh, but your laugh does not disprove the claim that newspaper gave for it did give a sequence of events that can be verified or disproven, but not dismissed.

    Maybe you should ask the Hijazi who is named in the story, or Shbeilat himself about what happened at his trial. I assume the minutes of the trial are recorded somewhere, although I highly doubt the GID will allow you to lay a finger on them.

    In all cases, Shbeilat is alive and in the country, anyone can ask him for details (ironically, you dismissing this story off-handidly is exactly what Nas has been angry at: people dismissing the governmnet’s Hamas narrative off-handidly – ironic that award yourself this prerogative).

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  19. “About the lack of a defense lawyer, whatever happened to the â??right to remain silent, anything you say or do shall be, and will be used against you in a court of lawâ??. Were those individuals given the right to call in a lawyer? Were their rights read to them before being arrested? I doubt it. They were probably shit-scared that they told the GID whatever the GID wanted to hear, and added a bit more.”

    Um, these are Miranda rights that are afforded in the US. I don’t think such a thing exists in Jordan for good or bad. http://usgovinfo.about.com/cs/mirandarights/a/miranda.htm

    As to dismissing what the government has to say versus what that little rag of a website says, come on man, are you insane? You know that guy has a serious axe to grind. He is far from the arbiter of truth, heâ??s horribly biased. Now you trust this one source over the government? You find a reputable source and someone might listen. Find an AFP, Reuters, Guardian, Aljazeera, Alarabiya, etcâ?¦ story that corroborates this bunch of scurrilous crap then you can talk about â??itâ??s not right to dismiss.â?

    What is not disproven, not by a long shot, is whether Hamas had any connection to this event. Nas may be saying don’t dismiss all the government has to say (and you ridiculously see a parallel to that sad little story) but the truth is you shouldn’t dismiss anything. Listen to all of it and then decide. But don’t make a rush to judgment. Don’t assume the government is lying and Hamas is telling the truth. That’d be foolish. Wait, watch and listen.

  20. Just to refute a refute of “Jordan’s” comment:

    “To further refute the presence of a paradigmatic shift, Hamas has so far refused to accept Israelâ??s right to exist, and was not enticed, or coerced into doing that. The paradigmatic shift idea suggests that Hamas shouldâ??ve seen all its previous problems of funding, international recognitionâ?¦etc solved overnight if it accepted a change in its paradigms (and it can be done subtely if it intended to do that).”

    Take a look here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12750230/

  21. The Informer: “Listen to all of it and then decide. But donâ??t make a rush to judgment.”

    This is best done is an objective and independent court of law, not a pre-recorded clip by a warring party. Dont you agree? Afterall, this piece of evidence will be dismissed in a court of law because video footage and voice recordings are susceptible to staging. In all cases, the court of law should be the place to find the culpability of Hamas in this, not JTV (which is an official governmental institution and not really an objective forum to debate on – see how the clips were heavily edited?)

    About the Miranda Rights, true they are American through and through, but the right to appoint a lawyer and refused interrogation in the absence of defense is a right granted by all justice systems in the world. If the Jordanian justice system does not, I will be (and you should be) very disappointed.

    As for Arabtimes, true he is biased, but he did cover true stories didn’t he? To say the least, it is a forum to say the unutterable in our politics. Why was it banned? Because it is an unprofessional news outlet that propagate rumours rather than cover news? What about the celebrity gossip magazines that do just the same but were never banned from our newsstands?

    That said, I dislike that newspaper, but I take its banning as the governments have something to hide, or at least aren’t able to offer the citizens an alternative to Arabtimes where something that looks like truth and courage in coverage is offered (even if it is a misconception and a perception in the people’s behalf). A nodding newspaper like Al-Rai or Addostour that propagate the official story all the time do not have the credibility of an anti-establishment newspaper. Why do you think that? Are you to blame Arabtimes for doing what it does, or the people for liking its courage and encouraging it? I personally would blame neither, instead I’d blame the government which has allowed its credibility to reach so low in the people’s eyes that it feels it has to go to lengths to explain its position.

    In all cases, thanks for the objective and rational arguements.

    P.S. An afterthought about the credibility of Jordanian daily newspapers. I heard the figure of cirulation is circa 60k a day for all dailies. If that is true, and assuming a 7 member household in Jordan (giving approx 800k households), it means around 1 in 10 people reads a daily newspaper in Jordan. Why do you think is that?

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