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Toronto - Canada
May 3/2004

The Honorable Member of the USA House of Representatives,
We commend your support for the Syrian Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003. We assure you that the American -Lebanese community as well as the majority of the Lebanese in occupied Lebanon and the Diaspora very much appreciate your courageous stand in regards to the restoration of Lebanon's sovereignty, independence, and freedoms, and for demanding the withdrawal of the Syrian occupation army and all its militant proxies from Lebanon.
We have learned that the American Task Force For Lebanon (ATFL) has extended an invitation to you to visit occupied Lebanon and Baathist Syria. We take this opportunity to share with you some of our genuine concerns as well as the following facts:

1. Unfortunately, the ATFL continues to lobby for Baathist Syria, ignoring all the horrible atrocities that this rogue Stalinist regime has and still is committing against its own people and the people of neighboring countries especially Lebanon. The ATFL continues to turn a blind eye to the fact that Syria is the world's number one sponsor of terrorism, that it possesses a large array of weapons of mass destruction, that it occupies Lebanon, and that it poses a threat to the United States' goal of establishing democracy in Iraq and the Middle East.
Over 11 terrorist groups (all of which are classified as such by the U.S. Government) are headquartered in Damascus. In addition, Hezbollah, which operates under the direct control of Syria, is responsible for the death of thousands of innocent Lebanese civilians, in addition to 241 US Marines, 58 French paratroopers, numerous UN observers and troops like Colonel Higgins of the USMC, as well as hundreds of others who perished when their embassies were targets of the Syrian sponsored terror campaigns. The ATFL is advocating for a Lebanese regime that supports Hezbollah who is openly advocating for the establishment of an Islamic State in Lebanon, a country that is half Christian.

2. One wonders how the ATFL whose prime declared objective is to promote solid Lebanese-American relations based on human rights and freedoms, could lobby for Syria a country that has a long-standing and well-documented chemical and biological weapons program. If suspicions were true that Sadism's chemical and biological weapons were transferred to Syria, such weapons would only be a welcome addition to Syria's already impressive pre-existing stockpiles. Furthermore, Syria has illegally occupied once-democratic Lebanon for 28 years, has openly overthrown its last legitimate government in 1990, and has turned it into a police state where basic freedoms are under constant assault. Syria's occupation of Lebanon as well as Syria's recent hostile acts against Coalition Forces in Iraq, demonstrate that Syria cannot tolerate democracies on its borders and intends to destabilize post-war Iraq. As Syria's President Bashar Assad put it when talking about the Syrian-assisted Iraqi resistance against the
Coalition: "…they would achieve nothing short of what the resistance did against the Israeli occupation of South Lebanon."

3. The majority of the Lebanese people fully supports the War on Terrorism and has faith in your political and moral judgments. Baathist Syria, the leading sponsor of terrorism and the vicious enemy of the U.S. must not be permitted to slip through the cracks in exchange for any amount of intelligence, assistance, or promises of future actions. We feel that terrorism is terrorism and to give Syria a "free pass" while simultaneously holding al-Qaeda and Iraq accountable would impede the War on Terrorism, destabilize the new Iraq, and undermine the moral authority of the U.S President.

4. In case you decide to visit Syria and Lebanon, we urge you to check on the horrific Syrian detention centers where hundreds of Lebanese prisoners of conscience have been arbitrarily imprisoned for years without any judiciary justifications and whose existence is constantly being denied by the Syrian authorities. We also urge you to speak with the oppressed Kurds, check on the Syrian Human Rights activists that are savagely detained, visit the families of the thousands of ordinary Syrian citizens whose beloved sons, husbands and relatives have either been massacred or are still incarcerated. Ask the Syrian officials why their people are oppressed, deprived of freedom, treated like slaves and why Syria is still under the state of emergency that was implemented thirty years ago. Ask why Syria still occupies Lebanon and refuses to implement UN Resolution 520.

5. While in occupied Lebanon, please pay a visit to South Lebanon. See how Hezbollah has erected its own state there, sabotaged the peace process, nurtured feelings of hatred and rejection of others, and how it has replaced the country's army in patrolling the border with Israel.

*Visit the Palestinian refugee camps where the Lebanese authorities have no presence at all. They have become, under the Syrian control and protection, a haven for hate schools, drug trafficking, fanaticism, terrorism, crime, and all sorts of illicit conducts.

*Speak to the ordinary Lebanese who endure extreme hardship and whose one third live below the poverty level and another third (1.4 million) was forced to emigrate because of the presence of 1.5 million illegal Syrian workers who fully control Lebanon's labor market.

*Ask the people if the regime appointed by the Syrian occupier actually represents their hopes, aspirations, or free will and choice.

*We also urge you to check on the Lebanese judiciary, which has become so corrupt due to the Syrian influence and the continuous interferences by the Lebanese regime in its affairs.

*Inquire about the heinous murder of Mrs. Bonnie Weatherall, the Evangelical missionary worker who was brutally assassinated in the city of Sidon in 2002, and about her well known fundamentalist killers who are living freely in the nearby Ain Al Helwi Palestinian refugee camp.

*Question why the Beirut regime and its Syrian masters are targeting the Lebanese Forces Party (LF) Students' leadership through kidnapping and assassinations: Two years ago Ramzi Irani, Chairman of the LF Students' Committee was kidnapped and savagely murdered, and two days ago Pierre Boulos who previously held the same position as Irani, encountered a very similar death when his body was found mutilated and stuffed in a car trunk.

*At the same time ask why Lebanon's PM in exile General Michel Aoun was charged with treason, tried in absentia, and sentenced to fifteen years of hard labor because of his courageous testimony last year before the House Subcommittee on International Relations.

*In addition we suggest you meet with Lebanon's NGOs and in particular with "SOLIDE". Its founder Mr. Gazi Aad can update you on the ongoing dilemma of hundreds of Lebanese citizens arbitrarily detained in Syrian jails, while the Beirut regime refuses even to recognize their existence. Meet also with Lebanon's University students and let them tell you how the regime deals with freedoms and human rights.

We are confident of your judgment and wisdom, and accordingly we encourage your forthcoming visit to both Syria and occupied Lebanon. However, we are more than certain that this visit will solidify your stand that was portrayed by your "yes" vote for the Syrian Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003.

CLHRF Spokesman
Elias Bejjani