Appalling Security Failure in
the Dubai assassination. Some authoritative reports create doubt. Was it murder or suicide?
By Maurice Ostroff
The death of Hamas bigwig Mahmoud al-Mabhouh
has led to increasing unsubstantiated speculation and contradictions.
One of the most striking aspects was the utter
failure of the much vaunted Dubai security. Strangely, all of the video clips available on the internet, show random persons
at the airport, in the hotel lobby and outside the elevators. But none show incriminating shots of the culprits entering and
leaving room 230, although the hotel CCTV system obviously covers the corridor and the door to his room as is patently evident
from short video clips of suspects walking in the corridor past entrances to the rooms.
Since the CCTV cameras operate
24/7 it is so obvious that this absolutely vital bit of evidence would be available that two prestigious journalists assumed
that they actually saw it on the available video clips. During an interview with Amy Goodman, Paul McGeough, chief correspondent
for the Sydney Morning Herald said ".. the cameras on that level of the hotel pick up the killers going into the [Mabhouh's]
room..then they're seen emerging from the room.."
And Simeon Kerr in the Financial Times article "Countdown to murder in Dubai"
wrote, "The four men suspected of carrying out the murder were caught on closed circuit TV leaving his room at 8:46pm." http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/557ffd04-1d85-11df-a893-00144feab49a.html
In response to my enquiry to McGeough he replied "In referring to what the cameras 'pick up,' I was alluding to the movements of the killers and those of Mabhouh
to and from the hotel and/or its second floor, rather than actually into and out of Mabhouh's room" and Mr. McGeough graciously
added "I'm aware of your interest in media accuracy
and I appreciate that you have drawn this to my attention".
Ms. Kerr responded "you are right .. I can find, none of it[the CCTV footage] shows the alleged assassins leaving
the room, rather they seem to show them leaving the corridor leading to his room and entering the lift.
either an editing
error or a mistake must have slipped into my story. but the police maintain they have the proof that he was killed in his
room. I hope that helps and sorry if my story misled.
inevitable question must be asked why special attention was not paid to surveillance of the room occupied by a sensitive guest
like Mabhouh who had asked for a room without a balcony and with sealed windows for security purposes and more importantly
why the break-in was not observed on the CCTV tapes until days later.
To compound the error, the audit trail of the
hotel's electronic locking system showed that an attempt had been made at 20.00 on June 20 to reprogram the lock to room 230.
The hotel uses the well known Locklink VingCard electronic reporting system and it is shockingly negligent that in view of
the alerts that should have been received from the CCTV cameras and the VingCard printout, that room 230 was not checked until
13.30 the next day and why guests were allowed to leave the hotel without being questioned.
A further confusing angle
points to Arab States. Al-Quds Al-Arabi, quoted none other than Mahmoud Nassar, Mabhouh's right-hand man, as saying that there
was evidence that Mabhouh had been targeted by moderate Arab countries. On March 3, Nassar told the London Telegraph that
security forces of an Arab state were behind the assassination and that he (Nassar) had information indicating that the assassination
was carried out earlier than the agents had planned.
To confound the confusion several apparently authoritative reports
of signs of electrocution and blood have been contradicted in other reports. CBS News reported on Feb 28, that forensic tests
show Mabhouh was drugged with succinylcholine, a fast-acting muscle relaxant before being suffocated with a pillow.
Neither electrocution nor blood is mentioned. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/02/28/world/main6253019.shtml
Eminent forensic pathologist Dr. Maurice Rogev, an elected Member of the American
Academy of Forensic Sciences and a frequent contributor of scientific papers to the Academy, casts doubt on the ability of
any forensic laboratory to accurately detect the presence of succinylcholine 25 hours after death, unless the room had been
kept under refrigerated conditions during the intervening period.
And to add to the doubts the following intriguing,
but overlooked information was supplied by the Dubai Government Media Office. I quote precisely, "On Wednesday the 20th
January 2010 at 1.30 pm, Al Bustan Hotel's administration opened the door to the victim's hotel room, which was locked from
the inside with the latch and chain in place, after several repeated attempts to reach him on the telephone. Initial medical
reports stated that the cause of death was due to an increase in blood pressure on the brain".
But, according to
the London Times Mabhouh's death was not officially announced by Hamas until January 29 http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article7009625.ecehttp .
Yet, nine days earlier, on January 20, the day the body was found
at 1.30 PM, the Palestine News Agency had already reported that Mabhouh died of cancer in a hospital in the United Arab Emirates:
This Ma'an report coupled with the difficult question how the culprits
left the room with the door locked and chained internally suggest the possibility that Mabhouh may have committed suicide
or that his body was found in other embarrassing circumstances which led to the over-hasty cover up story of cancer that was
later revised so as to incriminate Israel.
Certainly there is much more than meets the eye in this Dubai affair.