A Bundle Of English Reports, News and Editorials For January 09/2020 Addressing the On Going Mass Demonstrations & Sit In-ins In Iranian Occupied Lebanon in its 84th Day

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An anti-government protester hold a placard in Arabic thats reads "We want an independent justice that puts everyone on trial," during ongoing protests against the Lebanese government, in front of the Justice Palace in Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019. Protesters are demonstrating outside state institutions in an effort to keep up the pressure on top leaders to form a new government after the current one resigned. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

A Bundle Of English Reports, News and Editorials For January 08-09/2020 Addressing the On Going Mass Demonstrations & Sit In-ins In Iranian Occupied Lebanon in its 84th Day
Compiled By: Elias Bejjani
January 09/2020

Titles For The Latest English LCCC Miscellaneous Reports And News published on January 08-09/2020
Iran’s, Mullahs’ Regime Is A Terrorist and Rogue One/Elias Bejjani/January 08/2020
Aoun meets UN Under Secretary: Lebanon provides facilities, protection for UN organizations in Lebanon
Berri: It’s not time to throw responsibilities at one another
Honduras designates Hezbollah as terrorist organization
Honduras has warm relations with Israel, recently opening a trade office in Jerusalem after a visit by President Hernández and recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital/Jerusalem Post/January 08/2020
Report: Hezbollah will attack Israel if US responds to Iran attack/Jerusalem Post/January 08/2020
Report: Hizbullah Moving Equipment to Lebanon’s Southern Border
Maronite Bishops Criticize Delayed Govt. Formation, Capital Controls
Kubis Says Keeping Lebanon without Govt. ‘Increasingly Irresponsible’
Reports: No Changes Introduced to Diab’s Latest Line-Up
Bassil Says Technocrat Govt. Still Valid, Denies Obstructing Formation
Mikati, Egyptian ambassador tackle local, regional developments
Gharib meets Swiss Delegation: We hope new government adopts refugee return pla
Carlos Ghosn rips Nissan and Japanese judicial system/Timour Azhari/Al Jazeera/January 08/2020
Ghosn ‘Proud to be Lebanese’, Says Lebanon ‘Only Country’ that Has Stood by Him/Agence France Presse/Associated Press/Naharnet/January 08/2020
Japan’s Minister of Justice responds to Ghosn’s press conference
Oueidat to Question Ghosn over Japan Red Notice, Israel Trip
Ghosn Lawyers in Japan Refuse to Comply with Seizure Warrant
Prosecutors raid lawyer’s office where Ghosn worked on case
Planes, Trains and Boxes: Carlos Ghosn’s Audacious Escape
Hezbollah’s Moment of Truth/Hanin Ghaddar/Foreign Policy/January 08/2020

The Latest English LCCC Lebanese & Lebanese Related News published on January 08-09/2020
Iran’s, Mullahs’ Regime Is A Terrorist and Rogue One
Elias Bejjani/January 08/2020
Definitely, Iran’s, Mullahs’ Regime Is A Terrorist and Rogue One.. In Lebanon and before dismantling Hezbollah, the Iranian armed proxy, and putting an end to its military and occupational role there will be no freedom, independence, sovereignty or any effective solution for any of Lebanon’s many hardships on all levels and in all domains

Aoun meets UN Under Secretary: Lebanon provides facilities, protection for UN organizations in Lebanon
NNA /Wed 08 Jan 2020
The President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, confirmed to the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations for Safety and Security, Mr. GILLES MICHAUD, whom he met this afternoon at the Baabda Palace, that Lebanon provides all the necessary facilities and protection for workers in the United Nations organizations in Lebanon, within the framework of existing cooperation between the country and international organization ls in all fields, noting the efforts made by Secretary General Antonio Guterres and his assistants to support stability in Lebanon. During the meeting, which was attended by the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Salim Jreisatti and the United Nations General Coordinator in Lebanon, Mr. Jan Kubic, and an accompanying delegation, President Aoun renewed Lebanon’s commitment to implementing Resolution 1701, issued by the Security Council, noting that continuous Israeli violations against Lebanese sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity, are threatening stability in the South and along borders. While President Aoun expressed, to Mr. Michaud, his keenness to enhance the existing cooperation between “UNIFIL” and the Lebanese army in order to maintain stability, he expressed his hope that the recent developments in the region would not lead to any repercussions on the Lebanese scene. The president said that work is underway to fortify the political situation by speeding up the formation of the government and maintaining security at home and along the borders.
Mr. Mishau conveyed to President Aoun the UN’s appreciation for the care that Lebanon attaches to the international organizations working in it, especially in terms of preserving the safety of workers and the freedom of movement of their workers on Lebanese soil. Mr. Michaud presented the goals of his visit to Lebanon and a number of countries in the region, stressing the importance of cooperation between Lebanon and the international organizations working in it.
President Aoun met with the British Ambassador to Lebanon Chris Rampling and held discussion with him, which dealt with current developments in Lebanon and the region in light of recent developments. The discussion also touched on bilateral relations between the two countries and ways of developing these relations in all fields. President Aoun sent a telegram to the Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani, the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelinsky and the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, condoling the victims of the Ukrainian plane which fell today, at dawn, in Iran.–Presidency Press Office.

Berri: It’s not time to throw responsibilities at one another
NNA/Wed 08 Jan 2020
Speaker of the House, Nabih Berri, on Wednesday warned during “Wednesday’s Gathering” meeting that the assassination of Quds Force Commander, Major General Qassem Soleimani, had “crossed all the red lines” and constituted a “dangerous escalation” that would “change the features of the regional conflict, which has dominated the region thus far.”Touching on the governmental situation, Speaker Berri said, “What is mostly required is a government that reassures citizens and dispels their concerns.””It’s not time to throw responsibilities at one another and waste time on the shape of the cabinet,” Berri added, calling on the caretaker government to keep practicing its duties.Berri also declared that he would set a session before the end of the month to discuss the 2020 state budget.

Honduras designates Hezbollah as terrorist organization
Honduras has warm relations with Israel, recently opening a trade office in Jerusalem after a visit by President Hernández and recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Jerusalem Post/January 08/2020
Honduras has announced that it is officially designating Lebanese Shia group Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. “Honduras joins Guatemala and other countries in announcing that Hezbollah will be declared an international terrorist organization nationwide,” the office of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández said in a statement. Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz praised the decision on Tuesday, saying, “I applaud the Honduran government for its important decision to declare Hezbollah as a terrorist organization and to take the necessary sanctions against it.
“This is an important step in the worldwide war against terrorism,” Katz said, before stating that Israel is in talks with countries such as Germany, Australia and Brazil over also making such declarations. Katz added that he hoped such countries, “will act similarly and join the effort against the terrorism led by Iran and its proxies in the Middle East and throughout the world.” Honduras has warm relations with Israel, recently opening a trade office in Jerusalem after a visit by President Hernández and recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The Central American nation is also said to be planning to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in a move similar to that taken by Guatemala in 2018. Hezbollah has been designated a terror organization by several countries, including the US, the UK, Canada and Israel, as well as Honduras’ Latin American neighbors Argentina, Paraguay and Guatemala.
The group is believed to be very active in the porous tri-border area in South America where Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay meet, and where funds for its operations are raised. The US has urged all of its Latin American allies to declare the group a terror organization in order to significantly impact Hezbollah’s financing from foreign sources.

Report: Hezbollah will attack Israel if US responds to Iran attack
“We in no way consider the Zionist regime (of Israel) to be separate from the criminal US regime in these crimes.”
Jerusalem Post/January 08/2020
Hezbollah will attack Israel if the United States responds to missile attacks carried out by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on Tuesday night, according to the Iranian Tasnim news agency.
“We in no way consider the Zionist regime (of Israel) to be separate from the criminal US regime in these crimes,” the IRGC warned in a statement. “We warn the Great Satan, the bloodthirsty and arrogant regime of the US, that any new wicked act or further aggression (against Iran) will bring about more painful and crushing responses,” the group stressed. The IRGC warned on their Telegram channel that they would attack Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and Haifa in Israel if Iranian soil is targeted, according to CNN. The French foreign ministry advised French citizens in Haifa to exercise caution following the threat, Reuters has reported. “Following the recent escalation in tensions in the region, the city of Haifa has been the subject of explicit threats,” it said in a statement. Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles at targeted US bases in Iraq on Tuesday night in retaliation for the killing of former IRGC Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani last week. The Pentagon said that the missiles were launched from Iran.

Report: Hizbullah Moving Equipment to Lebanon’s Southern Border
Naharnet/January 08/2020
The Iranian Revolutionary News Agency reportedly said on Wednesday that Hizbullah is moving military equipment towards the Lebanese border with Israeli occupied Palestine. The report comes after an Iranian strike at Iraq’s Ain Assad air base housing U.S. troops “revenging” the US killing of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani. Following the strike, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the strike was a “slap in the face” delivered to the United States, when the Islamic republic fired missiles at US troop bases in Iraq on Wednesday. He also said that the United States was trying to get rid of Hizbullah to help Israel. Iran-backed Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said in a speech after Soleimani’s killing “there is a responsibility on the shoulders of the axis of resistance to retaliate… Qassem Soleimani is not a purely Iranian affair, Qassem Soleimani concerns Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan and every country.”Iran has a strong presence in Lebanon through Hizbullah with concerns that Soleimani’s killing would be avenged in part through Lebanon territories.

Maronite Bishops Criticize Delayed Govt. Formation, Capital Controls

Naharnet/January 08/2020
The Maronite Bishops stressed on Wednesday the need to facilitate the formation of a new government warning against any negligence of the people’s demands. “The mission of the PM-designate (Hassan Diab) to form a government must be facilitated, and the demands of Lebanese people expressed in public squares must not be neglected,” the Bishops said in a statement after their monthly meeting in Bkirki. Lebanon is without a cabinet and in the grips of a deepening economic crisis after a two-month-old protest movement forced Saad Hariri to stand down as prime minister on October 29. On the economic crisis and unprecedented “illegal” capital controls imposed by banks, the Bishops resented the measures preventing citizens from using their deposits freely. They called for an “integrated financial policy to limit the humiliation of citizens in front of banks.”They also condemned the attacks against some banks. Since September banks have arbitrarily capped the amount of dollars that can be withdrawn or transferred abroad, sparking fury among customers who accuse lenders of holding their money hostage. Tears and screaming have become common in banks in recent weeks as citizens accuse lenders of stealing their money. Some have filed law suits against banks

Kubis Says Keeping Lebanon without Govt. ‘Increasingly Irresponsible’
Naharnet/January 08/2020
The UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Jan Kubis stressed on Wednesday that keeping Lebanon without an effective government is “increasingly irresponsible.”“Given the situation and developments in the country and the region, it is increasingly irresponsible to keep Lebanon without an effective and credible government,” said Kubis in a tweet. “I urge the leaders to move without any further delay,” he added. Lebanon is without a cabinet and in the grips of a deepening economic crisis after a two-month-old protest movement forced Saad Hariri to stand down as prime minister on October 29. Anti-government protests continued after Hariri’s resignation, while political parties negotiated for weeks before nominating Diab, a professor and former education minister, to replace him on December 19. Echoing protester demands, Diab promised to form a government of independent experts within six weeks — in a country where appointing a cabinet can take months.

Reports: No Changes Introduced to Diab’s Latest Line-Up
Naharnet/January 08/2020
Sources close to Prime Minister-designate Hassan Diab on Wednesday denied that any changes have been introduced to the latest cabinet line-up that he has presented to President Michel Aoun, including the appointment of Demianos Qattar as a minister. “The PM-designate is the one forming the government and he has conducted complete consultations that have never returned to square one,” the sources told LBCI TV. The rebuttal about Qattar came after MTV reported that “all former ministers have been excluded from the cabinet line-up.” Qattar served as finance minister in Najib Miqati’s 2005 government. Sources close to Diab also denied to al-Jadeed TV that the proposed 18-minister technocrat cabinet has been shelved or that the parties are once again considering a “techno-political” government. “The only format that he is still clinging to is a government of experts composed of 18 ministers,” the sources added. Some observers have suggested that Hizbullah and its allies might anew call for a techno-political government in light of the Iranian-American escalation in the region.

Bassil Says Technocrat Govt. Still Valid, Denies Obstructing Formation
Naharnet/January 08/2020
Free Patriotic Movement chief Jebran Bassil announced Tuesday that the formation of a technocrat government is still an appropriate choice despite the escalation in the region, as he denied that he is obstructing the formation of the new Cabinet. “Our stance is what pushed for moving from a techno-political government to a government of experts. It is normal to ask if a government of this type is still valid for this stage, especially after Qassem Soleimani’s assassination, and I believe that this format is still appropriate seeing as the priority is for the financial situation,” Bassil said in an interview on al-Jadeed TV. “No one is facilitating the formation of the government as much as me and claims that I’m obstructing because I want the foreign affairs portfolio are baseless,” Bassil added. Denying that he is orchestrating the government formation process, the FPM chief said: “The government is being formed by the PM-designate in consultation and agreement with the President and we are giving our opinion like the rest of the blocs.”“The current plan is the formation of a government that can prevent the collapse,” he said.

Mikati, Egyptian ambassador tackle local, regional developments
NNA /Wed 08 Jan 2020
Former PM Najib Mikati received Egypt’s new ambassador to Lebanon, Yasser Mohamed Alawi, with whom he discussed the Lebanese affairs and the situation in the region, in addition to the importance of strengthening brotherly relations between Lebanon and Egypt

Gharib meets Swiss Delegation: We hope new government adopts refugee return plan
NNA /Wed 08 Jan 2020
Caretaker Minister of State for Refugee Affairs, Saleh Al-Gharib, on Wednesday welcomed at his ministerial office, Swiss Secretary of State for Migration, Urs von Arb, accompanied by Swiss Ambassador to Lebanon, Monika Schmutz Kirgِz, and a Swiss delegation. The meeting featured high on Syrian refugee affairs in Lebanon and the plan for their return to their homeland. Minister Gharib expressed hope before his visiting delegation that the new government would adopt the aforementioned plan in a way which guarantees refugee return and simultaneously alleviates tension on the hosting communities in Lebanon.

Carlos Ghosn rips Nissan and Japanese judicial system
Timour Azhari/Al Jazeera/January 08/2020
‘I felt I was a hostage’ says former automotive chief turned international fugitive.
Beirut, Lebanon – Former Nissan boss turned international fugitive Carlos Ghosn ripped Japan’s judicial system and his former company of 17 years on Wednesday. The former corporate titan said he was subjected to inhumane prison conditions in Japan, which he accuses of fabricating charges against him to destroy his reputation.
“I can tell you, it’s not very difficult to come to a conclusion you’re going to die in Japan or you have to get out,” Ghosn told reporters during a news conference in Beirut – his first public appearance since he fled Japan last month where he faces trial for alleged financial misconduct.
“This was not justice; I felt I was [a] hostage of a country that I have served for 17 years,” he said.
Ghosn’s shock escape reportedly involved former special forces operatives, a bullet train, and two private jets, one of which he was smuggled onto inside of a box designed for musical equipment. Ghosn told reporters he would not comment on his exit from Japan because it may put people at risk, but said he was “left with no choice” other than to jump bail. “It was a difficult decision, and a risk one only takes if resigned to the impossibility of a fair trial … let’s not forget I was facing a system where the conviction rate is 99.4 percent,” he said.
Over approximately two hours, Ghosn tackled the accusations levelled against him by Tokyo prosecutors and Nissan, dismissing allegations he had understated his pay over many years.
He characterised allegations that he misappropriated Nissan company funds and property as an attempt at “character assassination”, and revealed a document which he said proved Nissan executives had known about his use of residences in Beirut and Rio de Janeiro. The two residences have been at the centre of reports of misappropriation.
Nissan said in a statement earlier this week that it had “discovered numerous acts of misconduct by Ghosn through a robust, thorough internal investigation”, including “misstatement of his compensation and misappropriation of the company’s assets for his personal benefit”.
In a particularly explosive part of the news conference, Ghosn named specific members of the Tokyo prosecutors office and Nissan, whom he said had collaborated to fabricate the charges against him.
He also claimed that Japanese officials were involved but said he would refrain from naming them to avoid fomenting conflict between Japan and Lebanon.
Japan’s ambassador to Lebanon met with Lebanese President Michel Aoun on Tuesday, seeking “greater cooperation” on the Ghosn affair “in order to avoid negative repercussions on our friendly relations”.
The former Nissan boss also detailed his prison conditions: A tiny cell with no window, a light left on day and night, a limit of two showers per week, and only 30 minutes of time outside the cell every day – excluding weekends and holidays.
Particularly poignant were his descriptions of isolation including: “Six days with no human contact during the new year’s break,” and being prevented from seeing his wife – a ban he said had left him feeling “not human anymore”.
Ghosn said the conditions of detention, coupled with the slow pace of legal proceedings against him, denied him the basic human right to a quick and fair trial.
‘Proud to be Lebanese’
The fallen business magnate, who has Lebanese, Brazilian and French citizenship, began his news conference by saying he was “proud to be Lebanese”, a statement that drew applause from some of those gathered.
Ghosn is viewed by many in Lebanon as an embodiment of the success of the country’s large diaspora.
In response to a question from a Lebanese reporter, Ghosn said he was ready to put his expertise at the disposal of Lebanon as it deals with its worst economic and financial crisis in a generation. Ghosn also thanked Lebanese authorities for assisting him during his detention in Japan, which included frequent visits by Lebanon’s ambassador there.
“They show me that, for a small country, they have a big soul, a big heart, and a true sense of rightfulness,” said Ghosn.
But the former Nissan boss’s high-flying arrival in Lebanon at a time of continuing protests against a ruling elite seen as corrupt has been met with mixed reactions on the streets.
Protester Sleiman Haroun, a 25-year-old mechanic, told Al Jazeera earlier this week that the manner of Ghosn’s arrival in Lebanon necessitated cooperation with high-ranking officials – evidence he said politicians will go out of their way to assist people within their own privileged class while leaving middle and low-income classes “to sort themselves out”.
“Ghosn is one of them,” Haroun said from the main protest encampment in downtown Beirut, referencing a popular protest slogan.
Ghosn is not done with judicial investigations yet. As he gave his news conference, the state-run National News Agency reported that Lebanon’s State Prosecutor Ghassan Oueidat had summoned Ghosn for questioning on Thursday over a Red Notice for his arrest issued by Interpol, and over past meetings Ghosn has held with Israeli officials.
Lebanon remains officially at war with Israel, and it is illegal for any Lebanese citizens to meet with Israelis. Ghosn has travelled to Israel at least once, in 2008, when he met with then-Israeli President Shimon Perez.
“I didn’t go as a Lebanese citizen, I went as CEO and by the demand of Renault,” Ghosn said Wednesday. “I went to sign a contract and came back, and I won’t hide it. I spoke with Lebanese officials, and I’ve been coming to Lebanon since then, and nothing happened.”
Throughout the news conference, Ghosn appeared confident and relaxed, if at times somewhat animated over the injustices he claims to have suffered. He had arrived on stage a few minutes before the hotly-anticipated news conference was set to begin, and was seen speaking with a burly bodyguard who stood beside the podium.
Then he greeted several people, kissing them on both cheeks and taking pictures with them.
Ghosn’s last attempt at a news conference in April 2019 had not gone as planned. After being released on bail in March 2019, he had set a date for the highly-anticipated event but was rearrested before it could take place.
In a pre-recorded video posted online at the time by his legal team, Ghosn made similar claims: His arrest was the result of a conspiracy led by Nissan executives who were looking out for their own personal interests rather than those of the company.
He had ended the video on a prescient note, a slight smile briefly crossing his face as he said: “I’m sorry I was not able to share more with you and respond to many questions you have on your mind. But hopefully, we will do it at a certain point in time.”

Ghosn ‘Proud to be Lebanese’, Says Lebanon ‘Only Country’ that Has Stood by Him
Agence France Presse/Associated Press/Naharnet/January 08/2020
Fugitive auto tycoon Carlos Ghosn vowed Wednesday to clear his name as he made his first public appearance since skipping bail in Japan.
“I’m here to clear my name,” he said at a news conference in Beirut where he arrived nearly two weeks ago after escaping from Japan where he was facing trial for financial misconduct.
“The charges against me are baseless.”“I’m proud to be Lebanese and Lebanon is the only country in the world that has stood by me,” Ghosn added. “I’m in Lebanon and I respect the country and I will not do anything that might negatively affect the Lebanese authorities. I will maintain silence and I won’t announce anything that may harm Lebanese-Japanese interests,” Ghosn went on to say.
Alleging “collusion” between Nissan and Japan’s prosecutor over his “staged arrest,” Ghosn described his detention conditions in Japan as “travesty” against human rights and dignity.
He also said that he was “presumed guilty” and had “no choice” but to flee, while noting that he would not talk about how he fled Japan during the press conference. He said the decision to escape Japan “was the most difficult of my life.” The former auto industry titan dismissed all allegations against him as untrue, saying “I should never have been arrested in the first place.” “I’m not above the law and I welcome the opportunity for the truth to come out and have my name cleared,” he told a packed room of journalists. Ghosn smuggled himself from Tokyo to Beirut in late December, arriving in the Lebanese capital where he grew up and is regarded by many as a national hero.
Ghosn’s daring and improbable escape has perplexed and embarrassed Japanese authorities after he skipped bail and managed to flee the country despite supposedly rigorous surveillance.
Media reports have said that he left his residence alone, met two men at a Tokyo hotel, and then took a bullet train to Osaka before boarding a private jet hidden inside a case for musical equipment. He flew to Istanbul and was then transferred onto another plane bound for Beirut, where he arrived Dec. 30. On Wednesday, Ghosn portrayed his arrest as a plot linked to a decline in the financial performance of Nissan. Ghosn had been in favor of merging Nissan with industry ally Renault, of which he was also chairman. “Unfortunately there was no trust. And some of our Japanese friends thought that the only way to get rid of Renault in Nissan is to get rid of me,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Tokyo prosecutors raided a Japanese lawyer’s office where Ghosn had visited regularly before he fled. Japanese media reports said prosecutors had likely seized the computer to track down how Ghosn escaped and who might have helped him.
An hour before the scheduled press conference, a Lebanese prosecutor said Ghosn will be summoned “in the coming hours” over a visit to Israel more than 10 years ago, according to the state-run National News Agency. Two Lebanese lawyers had submitted a report to the Public Prosecutor’s Office against Ghosn last week, saying he violated Lebanese law by visiting Israel. The two neighboring countries are technically in a state of war. Prosecutor Ghassan Khoury met with the two lawyers who filed the case on Wednesday and asked them to bring additional evidence, adding he would summon Ghosn in the coming hours. Ghosn visited Israel in 2008 and met officials including the prime minister and the president. At the time he announced the launch of electric cars in Israel. Lebanese authorities have said Ghosn entered the country on a legal passport, casting doubt on the possibility they would hand him over to Japan. Lebanon last week received an Interpol-issued wanted notice — a non-binding request to law enforcement agencies worldwide that they locate and provisionally arrest a fugitive.
Lebanon and Japan do not have an extradition treaty, and the Interpol notice does not require Lebanon to arrest him. Ghosn, who is Lebanese and also holds French and Brazilian passports, was expected to go on trial in Tokyo in April. In statements, he has said he fled to avoid “political persecution” by a “rigged Japanese justice system.” He also said that he alone organized his departure from Japan and that his wife, Carole, played no role. On Tuesday, Tokyo prosecutors obtained an arrest warrant for Carole Ghosn on suspicion of perjury. That charge is not related to his escape. Lebanon’s justice minister said Tuesday that Lebanon has not received any request related to that warrant. Japanese justice officials acknowledge that it’s unclear whether the Ghosns can be brought back to Japan to face charges.
Ghosn’s former employer, Nissan Motor Co., said it was still pursuing legal action against him despite his escape, adding that Ghosn engaged in serious misconduct while leading the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi alliance. Ghosn denies all the charges.

Japan’s Minister of Justice responds to Ghosn’s press conference
NNA /08 January/2020
The following is a statement made by Japanese Minister of Justice, Ms. MORI Masako, responding the press conference held by Mr. Carlos Ghosn this afternoon. It represents Japan’s official position on this case.
“Defendant Carlos Ghosn, who has fled Japan, just held a press conference. His departure from Japan could constitute a crime and the International Criminal Police Organization issued a Red Notice against him. Defendant Ghosn had been indicted for allegedly underreporting his remuneration in securities reports, and for allegedly violating the Companies Act through aggravated breach of trust by having a Nissan subsidiary transfer a massive amount of money to a deposit account in the name of a company effectively owned by him, for his own profit.
The court released defendant Ghosn on bail because he promised to comply with the bail conditions that he must not hide/run away or travel abroad, but he fled Japan and ran away from his criminal trial. Such action would not be condoned under any nation’s system. Furthermore, he has been propagating both within Japan and internationally false information on Japan’s legal system and its practice. That is absolutely intolerable. Japan’s criminal justice system sets out appropriate procedures and is administered properly to clarify the truth in cases while guaranteeing basic individual human rights.
Each nation’s criminal justice system has, by its very nature, various differences from systems in place in other nations. For example, as for detention of a suspect, in one country, such detention is permitted widely without a warrant, whereas in Japan, setting aside rare exceptions (e.g. arresting a person in the act of committing a crime), it is impossible to detain a suspect without a warrant. That is to say, unless the investigation authority has been rendered a warrant from the court after review by a judge who is independent from the investigation authority, it is impossible for the authority to arrest someone. As such, the possibility of placing someone in custody is very limited and detention is strictly controlled.
Each nation’s criminal justice system has its roots in its history and culture, being formulated and developed over a long period of time. Therefore, there is no superiority or inferiority among legal systems of different countries. The merits of a criminal justice system should be decided by assessing the entire system per se. It is not appropriate to single out certain aspects of the system and criticize them.
There is also a way to file a suit to seek redress of a detriment suffered by such detention. Unless there is a danger of evidence being concealed or destroyed, a defendant may be granted contact with his spouse and others. For all criminal cases in Japan, as a matter of course, all defendants are ensured the right to a fair and public trial.
Thanks to the persistent efforts made by Japan’s police, judges and prosecutors, and the Japanese public, Japan’s crime rate is extremely low compared to other countries and it is fair to say that Japan is now the safest country in the world.
I am of course aware of various views about the Japanese system, and as a matter of fact, we have continued to upgrade our system to respond to the demands of the day. We will spare no effort to consistently review how we can improve Japan’s judicial system.
Moving forward, I will continue to provide information and answer questions actively to ensure a more accurate understanding of Japan’s criminal justice system by people around the world.
If defendant Ghosn has anything to say, it is my strong hope that he engage in all possible efforts to make his case within Japan’s fair criminal justice proceedings, and that he seek justice rendered by a Japanese court.
The Government of Japan will take all available measures so that Japanese criminal proceedings can be properly served, while closely working with relevant countries, international organizations, and other stakeholders.”

Oueidat to Question Ghosn over Japan Red Notice, Israel Trip
Naharnet/January 08/2020
Lebanon’s State Prosecutor Ghassan Oueidat has summoned fugitive auto tycoon Carlos Ghosn to an interrogation session that will be held Thursday at his office in Beirut, the Lebanese state-run news agency said.
The National News Agency said Oueidat will question Ghosn over the content of the Interpol red notice issued by Japan’s judiciary, which accuses him of offenses committed on Japanese soil and demands his arrest. The businessman will also be interrogated in connection with a lawsuit filed against him by Lebanese lawyers over a trip he made to Israel more than 10 years ago. Two Lebanese lawyers had submitted a report to the State Prosecutor’s Office against Ghosn last week, saying he violated Lebanese law by visiting Israel. The two neighboring countries are technically in a state of war. Prosecutor Ghassan Khoury met with the two lawyers who filed the case on Wednesday and asked them to bring additional evidence. Ghosn visited Israel in 2008 and met officials including the prime minister and the president. At the time he announced the launch of electric cars in Israel. Lebanese authorities have said Ghosn entered the country on a legal passport, casting doubt on the possibility they would hand him over to Japan. Lebanon last week received an Interpol-issued wanted notice — a non-binding request to law enforcement agencies worldwide that they locate and provisionally arrest a fugitive.
Lebanon and Japan do not have an extradition treaty, and the Interpol notice does not require Lebanon to arrest him. Ghosn, who is Lebanese and also holds French and Brazilian passports, was expected to go on trial in Tokyo in April. In statements, he has said he fled to avoid “political persecution” by a “rigged Japanese justice system.” He also said that he alone organized his departure from Japan and that his wife, Carole, played no role. On Tuesday, Tokyo prosecutors obtained an arrest warrant for Carole Ghosn on suspicion of perjury. That charge is not related to his escape. Lebanon’s justice minister said Tuesday that Lebanon has not received any request related to that warrant. Japanese justice officials acknowledge that it’s unclear whether the Ghosns can be brought back to Japan to face charges. Ghosn’s former employer, Nissan Motor Co., said it was still pursuing legal action against him despite his escape, adding that Ghosn engaged in serious misconduct while leading the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi alliance. Ghosn denies all the charges.

Ghosn Lawyers in Japan Refuse to Comply with Seizure Warrant
Naharnet/January 08/2020
Lawyers for former Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn on Wednesday refused to turn over a computer used by the auto tycoon before he jumped bail and fled the country last month. Prosecutors arrived at the offices of one of Ghosn’s Japanese lawyers with a warrant for seizure of the machine — only to be told to go away. “Tokyo district prosecutors came to our office with a warrant to seize items used by Mr. Ghosn such as a computer,” the defence team said in a short statement. “In light of attorney-client confidentiality obligations, we exercised the right to refuse the seizure, as permitted under Article 105 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, and asked them to leave without entering our office,” the statement said. Ghosn was out on bail in Japan on financial misconduct charges before he fled the country for Lebanon in late December. Under the terms of his bail, he was only allowed to use the internet via a designated computer located at the law firm of Junichiro Hironaka, one of his attorneys. Ghosn is due to address the media later Wednesday in Beirut, where he has pledged to supply evidence that the allegations against him were a “plot” to prevent him from more closely aligning Nissan with its French partner Renault. Ghosn’s sensational November 2018 arrest kicked off a rollercoaster saga that culminated with his astonishing escape last month, reportedly hidden inside an equipment box on a private plane. Hironaka has said he was “dumbfounded” by news of Ghosn’s escape, which he learned about from the media. Nissan has insisted Ghosn should be held accountable for his “various acts of misconduct”, saying Tuesday it would continue to pursue legal action against him. Ghosn hit back in a statement issued by his French defence team early Wednesday saying Nissan’s investigation was “initiated and carried out for the specific, predetermined purpose of taking down Carlos Ghosn”. The statement accused the firm of conducting an investigation that was “fundamentally flawed, biased, and lacking in independence from its inception”.

Prosecutors raid lawyer’s office where Ghosn worked on case
Associated Press/January 08/2020
Japanese media reports said prosecutors had likely seized the computer to track down how Ghosn escaped and who might have helped him.
TOKYO (Tokyo prosecutors on Wednesday raided a Japanese lawyer’s office where former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn had visited regularly before skipping bail last week and fleeing to Lebanon.
Japanese news footage showed prosecutors marching into Junichiro Hironaka’s office in Tokyo, where a woman answering the phone said the lawyers weren’t there to comment and hung up. Prosecutors declined immediate comment.
Ghosn was under strict bail conditions while preparing for his trial on financial misconduct allegations. But he had been allowed to use a computer at his lawyer’s office under those conditions.
Japanese media reports said prosecutors had likely seized the computer to track down how Ghosn escaped and who might have helped him.
Hironaka has previously said he was stunned by Ghosn’s departure. He has also said he will not disclose information related to Ghosn’s case because of attorney-client privilege.
Ghosn said from Lebanon he fled to escape injustice. He has insisted he is innocent.
A statement released in Ghosn’s defense earlier Wednesday slammed the automaker’s internal investigation as flawed and aimed only at taking him down. “Nissan’s claim that it conducted ‘a robust, thorough internal investigation’ is a gross perversion of the truth,” said a statement from French consultancy company Image Sept for the defense team.
“It was initiated and carried out for the specific, predetermined purpose of taking down Carlos Ghosn to prevent him from further integrating Nissan and Renault, which threatened the independence of Nissan, one of Japan’s iconic, flagship companies.”
Ghosn, who led the Japanese automaker for two decades, has repeatedly characterized the Japanese criminal case against him as meant to block a fuller merger with Nissan’s French alliance partner Renault.
Nissan Motor Co. on Tuesday said it would continue to pursue legal action against Ghosn and reiterated its allegations that Ghosn engaged in serious misconduct while leading the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi alliance.
The statement from the French consultants said Nissan never questioned Ghosn directly about the allegations and asserted Nissan has not targeted others at the company, such as Hiroto Saikawa, Ghosn’s successor.
Saikawa resigned last year after allegations related to dubious income surfaced against him. He has not been charged.
It also said a Nissan employee who admitted to wrongdoing was involved in the investigation.
Nissan faces trial as a company in Japan, and it has indicated it will comply and pay required fines.
Ghosn was charged with under-reporting his future compensation and with breach of trust in diverting Nissan money for his personal benefit. He has repeatedly said the compensation was never decided and the payments were for legitimate business.
He was expected to hold a news conference later Wednesday in Beirut.
Also Tuesday, Japan sought the arrest of Carole Ghosn, Ghosn’s wife, who is with him in Lebanon, on suspicion of perjury in statements she made at a Tokyo court last year related to her husband’s case.
Prosecutors have accused her of falsely testifying she didn’t know certain parties involved in monetary transactions that are part of the allegations against Ghosn. Carole Ghosn has in the past brushed off the questioning as inconsequential.
How Ghosn managed to leave Japan while under surveillance as part of his bail conditions has riveted the public.
He is seen on security footage walking alone out of his Tokyo home. He reportedly took a bullet train to Kansai Airport. He flew first to Turkey and then to Lebanon on private jets, according to Turkish airline company MNG Jeta, which said the planes were used illegally.
Japan’s Justice Minister Masako Mori said this week that luggage and cargo checks were being strengthened for private jets at all airports. She did not confirm reports Ghosn hid in a box for musical equipment to escape.
Japan has seized the 1.5 billion yen ($14 million) bail Ghosn posted. But government officials also have acknowledged that seeking an individual’s return from Lebanon to stand trial is difficult and sensitive. Lebanon and Japan do not have an extradition treaty, and Lebanon generally does not extradite its citizens.

Planes, Trains and Boxes: Carlos Ghosn’s Audacious Escape
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/January 08/2020
Private jets, bullet trains and boxes with holes for breathing: Carlos Ghosn’s escape from Japan, where he was awaiting trial, is worthy of a Hollywood plot. A millionaire many times over, used to hob-nobbing with the Davos set, Ghosn chafed at what he felt were the tight restrictions imposed as a condition of his bail ahead of an expectedly lengthy trial for financial misconduct. As 2019 drew to a close, the former boss of Renault-Nissan made a break for it. Here’s what we know about his dramatic flight:
‘Bullet train’
Contrary to early reports of a Houdini-like escape from his house hidden in a musical instrument case, it seems the tycoon simply walked out of his luxury central Tokyo residence on December 29, security camera footage shows. According to Japanese media, he met two US citizens in a nearby hotel and the trio took a shinkansen bullet train from Shinagawa, a major Tokyo hub, to Osaka in western Japan, a trip of around three hours.
All three headed to a hotel near Kansai International Airport, with security camera footage showing only the two Americans leaving, carrying “two big boxes” — with Ghosn apparently inside one of them. He departed in a private jet — Turkish investigators say a Bombardier labelled TC-TSR — that landed in Istanbul at 5:15am local time on December 30 and parked in a hangar. A Japanese transport ministry official has told AFP that security checks on luggage are not necessary for private jet operators and the boxes were apparently too big for the X-ray machines at the airport. Citing sources close to the investigation in Turkey, the Wall Street Journal said holes had been drilled in the box containing Ghosn so the executive could breathe.
‘Clandestine getaway’
Turkish news agency DHA said in Istanbul Ghosn boarded a second private jet to Beirut, a Bombardier Challenger 300 TC-RZA, which left 45 minutes later. Turkey’s Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul said seven people had been detained in connection with the jets, including four pilots. Five were formally arrested. The Turkish private jet company MNG filed a complaint Friday alleging its aircraft were used illegally, and said one employee admitted to falsifying the flight manifest to keep Ghosn off the passenger list. The 65-year-old former car executive has insisted he acted alone, without help from his family. The Wall Street Journal said he was aided by a former US special forces operative, Michael Taylor, now working as a private security contractor and described as an “expert in the art of clandestine getaways”.
Passport roulette
In his own words, Ghosn was a symbol of globalisation and he held three nationalities: French, Brazilian and Lebanese. As part of his bail conditions, three passports were kept locked up by his lawyers. However, a source close to the matter told AFP the Tokyo court had allowed Ghosn to keep his second French passport so long as it was kept “in a locked case” with the key held by his lawyers. This second French document was so he could prove his short-term visa status if needed when travelling in Japan — which was allowed in his bail conditions. He apparently used this to enter Lebanon — airport documents there seen by AFP show he entered on a French passport. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said he had “no particular information” about that. Japanese authorities have confirmed there is no record of Ghosn departing the country — lending credence to the cargo box theory.
What next? –
Interpol, the international police cooperation body, issued a “red notice” for Ghosn’s arrest, but Beirut and Tokyo do not have an extradition agreement under which he could be sent back to Japan, and Lebanese officials say he entered the country legally. However, an official speaking on condition of anonymity told AFP that Ghosn would receive a summons from the Lebanese judiciary which “is obliged to hear him” but “can still decide whether to arrest him or let him remain free”. Nevertheless, he could still find himself in hot water in Lebanon. Three lawyers submitted a report to the public prosecutor demanding he be prosecuted over a 2008 trip he made to Israel — a country Lebanon bans its citizens from visiting.A source close to the case in Japan has told AFP that a trial over alleged financial misconduct involving Ghosn’s right-hand man Greg Kelly and Nissan could still proceed. Ghosn denies all the charges against him and has told Fox Business that he is ready to name executives and officials he says conspired against him in a “plot” to prevent Nissan getting too close to French firm Renault. He will address the media at a Beirut press conference on Wednesday.

Hezbollah’s Moment of Truth
حنين غدار/فورن بوليسي: حزب الله ولحظة الحقيقة
Hanin Ghaddar/Foreign Policy/January 08/2020
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The group’s leader has promised bloody retribution for Suleimani’s death. In reality, he’ll probably have to focus on rebuilding Hezbollah’s standing.
Even before he was assassinated by U.S. drones this month, Qassem Suleimani, the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, was having a difficult few months.
For years, he had steadily expanded his operations through proxies in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq. But recently, his forces had taken numerous hits. The Israeli army had attacked many Iranian bases in Syria and Iraq (and potentially Lebanon), killing a large number of Lebanese and Iraqi fighters and commanders and eliminating most of Suleimani’s precision missile factories.
Despite the considerable losses, Suleimani had one thing going for him: that he was never forced to directly confront the United States. Eyes on the main prize of securing Iran’s influence over the region, he played down any mishaps and promised a response at “the right time and place,” a mantra for Iranian proxies and officials in recent years.
But the right time and place didn’t come. Suleimani, the grand orchestrator of Iran’s regional power, was killed. And now Iran is in a difficult position. Doing nothing will indicate weakness, but responding forcefully could also expose the regime and its proxies to more U.S. strikes. Given the constraints, it is likely that Iran will avoid drastic measures that could lead to war. Rather, it will continue the same path blazed by Suleimani: no direct confrontation with its main foe, but a serious effort to secure Iran’s institutional influence in the region. And Hezbollah—one of its main regional partners, which in recent days has promised a campaign of fire and fury—will likely do the same.
Signs of Iran and Hezbollah’s strategy have already started to surface. On Jan. 5,
Iran declared that it would no longer abide by any limits of its 2015 nuclear deal. Iraq’s parliament likewise passed a resolution calling for the removal of all remaining U.S. troops in Iraq. Days later, Iran struck American bases in Iraq, after which it claimed it does not seek war.
Meanwhile, at a memorial service for Suleimani in Beirut’s southern suburbs on Jan. 5, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah called for a far harsher response. The U.S. military, he said, would have to pay the price for the killing of Suleimani, warning that its soldiers and officers would return home in coffins. He declared that responding to the assassination would not be Iran’s responsibility alone, but all of its allies’ too. He cautioned, though, that U.S. civilians should not be targeted. “Fair punishment,” he argued, would be aimed at “the American military presence in the region: American military bases, American naval ships, every American officer and soldier in our countries and region.”
His comments came a day after Zainab Suleimani, Qassem Suleimani’s daughter, was interviewed on Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV channel. She said that she has faith in Nasrallah. “I know that he will avenge my father’s blood,” she added.
Her statement was not really an indication that Hezbollah will soon take the initiative to launch a military response against the United States. Rather, it was clever messaging, a reminder of Iran’s regional power, and a hint at how Suleimani himself had cultivated Hezbollah into one of Iran’s most valuable allies.
In fact, fiery rhetoric aside, Nasrallah knows that he cannot be directly involved in any kind of retribution. It is telling that, in his remarks, he didn’t mention Lebanon once, nor did he hint at Israel as a target. Despite his bravado, Nasrallah knows that the best option for him and Iran is to continue to be pragmatic and not start a regional war.
For the past decade, Hezbollah’s strategy in Lebanon has been to preserve stability, but the kind of stability that protects Iran’s interests. That’s exactly why the group saw the recent protests in Lebanon as a challenge that needed to be silenced. Hezbollah sent in its thugs to attack the protesters in the streets, mainly in Shiite towns and villages, and increased threats against Shiite dissidents and activists. Suleimani himself had frequently traveled to Beirut to help quell the marches by advising Hezbollah’s officials on how and when to engage with the protestors. His strategy was focused on two goals: stopping Shiites from participating and pressuring security institutions to crush them. He understood that any turmoil could pose a risk to Iran’s fragile interests and accomplishments in the region.
The United States Can Offer the People of Lebanon and Iraq Something Tehran Can’t
Protesters in Iraq and Lebanon are rising up against Iranian influence, sectarianism, and corruption. The U.S. Congress should offer conditional aid that forces governments to respond to their citizens’ grievances.
For now, Hezbollah still has control over the Lebanese state and its institutions, although its popularity has been damaged.For now, Hezbollah still has control over the Lebanese state and its institutions, although its popularity has been damaged. Hezbollah will take the opportunity afforded by Suleimani’s death to try to regain some of this popularly and revive its image by painting the United States as the bad guy, although this strategy has not recently worked for the group. Lebanese people seem more focused today on the economy and daily hardships, rather than ideological rhetoric. All this means that Hezbollah will have an uphill battle reconsolidating its power.
Beyond that, the group would have a hard time mustering a campaign of revenge even if it wanted to. It lost a large number of its elite forces in Syria and the rest of the region. Much of its current fighting force is made up of new recruits who still need to be organized and structured. That takes time, and it is also proving difficult, because many of the new fighters were hastily recruited during the Syria crisis and have been difficult to train. Its finances are also under strain, given Iran’s own budgetary woes, and the group has limited bandwidth to take on any new adventures.
And so, as Iran tries to consolidate its power in Iraq via state institutions and limited maneuvers against U.S. troops, Hezbollah will try to do the same in Lebanon.
First, it will likely make an effort to form a government in Lebanon that will be more closely affiliated with the group and its allies. And second, Hezbollah will try to sell this government as the only option that would ensure stability, hoping that the international community will value quiet over reform, especially as the region is boiling with tension.
At the same time, even as it avoids military confrontation, Hezbollah will most likely work to rebuild its arsenal of precision missiles and prepare for war in the future. And, finally, it will try to turn the Lebanese economic crisis to its own advantage. For example, it may increase its smuggling across the Lebanese-Syrian borders to bring in food and medicine from Iraq and Syria. That is already happening at a small scale and has allowed Hezbollah to build a parallel economy in Lebanon.
Bloody revenge may sound great to Iran and Hezbollah supporters, but a steady, bloodless takeover across the region will pay off better in the long term.
When the Hezbollah military commander Imad Mughniyeh was assassinated by the CIA and Mossad in Syria in February 2008, the group’s most forceful response was inside Lebanon, where it deployed weapons against Lebanese throughout the summer. That was the moment Hezbollah took over Lebanon, by eliminating the adversary March 14 government and founding the national unity government, which has since put Lebanon under the group’s authority.
Given Iran and Hezbollah’s likely strategy, the best way to contain them is to support and empower the people of Lebanon and Iraq, who are the real faction that can offer or deny Iran’s proxies support. They are the genuine agents of change in the region.
*Hanin Ghaddar is the Friedmann visiting fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy’s Geduld Program on Arab Politics.