Ha’aretz has a piece analyzing the roots of Hersh’s allegations that the US was funding money to the Hariri clan that ended up financing groups like Jund al-Sham and Fatah al-Islam in Lebanon:
Hersh said he heard the story from Robert Fisk, the bureau chief of The Independent’s Beirut office. But Hersh did not check out the story himself. For his part, Fisk said he heard the unconfirmed report from Alastair Crooke, a former British intelligence agent and the founding director and Middle East representative of the Conflicts Forum, a non-profit organization that aims to build a new relationship between the West and the Muslim world. Crooke, who gained his reputation through his involvement in the conflict in northern Ireland, does not know Arabic. When Lebanese journalists spoke to Crooke about the report, they said he told them only that he had heard it “from all kinds of people.”
This is, of course, ironically pretty vague. Which Lebanese journalists? (And since when was Fisk involved?) In any case, the piece by Hersh and the ramblings by a certain Franklin Lamb have spurred the rumor mill here in Lebanon. The allegations are getting more and more ridiculous. There are, apparently, some people now claiming that Fatah al-Islam has a …wait for it…. submarine. No kidding. People actually believe this sort of thing.