state-sponsored terrorism against iran?

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state-sponsored terrorism against iran?

Postby realp » Tue Jun 21, 2005 12:08 pm

stratfor doesn't usually get into accusing the u.s. of state-sponsored terrorism, so this is unusual.<br><br>- - - - - - - - - -<br><br><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK START--><a href=""></a><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK END--><br><br>Iran: New Group Kidnaps Iranian Security Agent<br><br>Jun 20, 2005<br><br>Summary<br><br>A videotape aired by Dubai-based Al Arabiya television June 20 showed a hostage held by a group called the "Organization of God's Soldiers." Following the recent spate of attacks in Iran, the Islamic republic appears to be facing an internally instigated threat supported by foreign elements.<br><br>Analysis<br><br>A group calling itself the Organization of God's Soldiers has kidnapped an Iranian security agent identified as Shahab Mansouri, threatening to kill him unless the Iranian government releases jailed members of the group within three weeks. The video of the hostage, aired by Al Arabiya television June 20, showed five armed militants dressed in tribal robes and their faces covered with black cloth standing with the hostage. The group declared in the video that it would "send the hostage's head as a gift to the elected president if its demands are not met."<br><br>This kidnapping evidently raises more questions than answers. However, at the very least, it indicates that a foreign element has likely been active in providing the funding, weapons and training to particular groups within the Islamic republic, inciting them to become active in destabilizing the regime.<br><br>A limited explanation would be that this kidnapping -- along with the spate of bombings June 12-14, should a connection be verified -- is the work of an internal political force, such as the Islamist-Marxist Mujahideen al Khalq (MeK) or a Sunni Arab group upset over the recent arrests in Ahvaz following the June 12 bombing. The group's previously unheard-of name and the kidnappers' tribal clothing could be a disguise tactic for a group operating with the objective of destabilizing the Iranian regime while it is in flux because of the presidential elections.<br><br>However, the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) is particularly adept at monitoring local opposition forces within Iran. Furthermore, this theory does not necessarily explain the trigger and capability behind the recent militant activity -- which is extremely rare in Iran.<br><br>Following the recent bombings in Ahvaz, Tehran and Zahedan, there is a possibility that the transnational jihadist movement has opened up a new front in the Shiite heartland by linking up with local operatives in Iran. As Stratfor has discussed before, jihadist actors are the most capable of staging attacks across the country in such a synchronized fashion. The June 20 hostage video also clearly follows the jihadist trend of hostage videos, used previously in Iraq and Afghanistan.<br><br>Although the MOIS is a highly effective intelligence/security agency, it is not necessarily 100 percent effective in detecting jihadist operations -- just as the Israeli Mossad intelligence services do not successfully deter every suicide attack.<br><br>The jihadist elements are likely foreign actors operating along the western and eastern porous borders of Iran, where al Qaeda is known to have sanctuaries. There are rumors that the Iranian government is holding al Qaeda leaders Saad bin Laden (son of Osama bin Laden), Suleiman abu Ghaith (spokesperson for al Qaeda following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks) and Saif al-Adel (Egyptian ex-colonel with links to Ayman al-Zawahiri, who took over as al Qaeda's third-in-command in 2001). A call for their release would further aid the currently hard-pressed jihadist movement.<br><br>Finally, it is possible that a foreign government with an interest in destabilizing the Iranian regime is indirectly funding and arming the internal forces instigating the attacks in Iran. The United States, Israel, and neighboring Arab governments such as Saudi Arabia would be included in the list of likely state suspects.<br><br>As former Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani appears poised to take the presidency on June 24 with an objective to normalize Iranian-U.S. relations, the United States may be aiming to weaken the regime at the onset in order to extract as many concessions as possible when the Iranians come to the negotiating table.<br><br>As the puzzle pieces begin to come together, the indication that the recent militant activity in Iran is the work of local elements aided by a foreign actor suggests that this is only the beginning. Should a government be implicated, this new threat against the regime raises the possibility of a state-to-state confrontation with the Islamic republic. <p></p><i></i>
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re: State-sponsored terrorism (It ain't Iceland!)

Postby Starman » Tue Jun 21, 2005 1:53 pm

Fuckin' idiots (neocons in the WH and Pentagon making a mockery of International Law) -- Ever see the fair-weather two-faced self-righteous warhawk chicken-little Patriots argue on blogs and discussion boards that the US has every 'right' to invade, attack and devastate foreign countries in self-defense against 'their' support for terrorism against US interests? "That's" the kind of self-serving 'logic' that stands for courage and integrity in the upside-down Orwellian world which is America today. (The 'opposition' is too disenfranchised and disempowered to intrude far above the rightwing's rabble chorus, IMO -- especially with a corporate-controlled press subservient to the Powers That Are and dominating the public's (sic) airwaves.)<br>*<br><br><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK START--><a href=""></a><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK END--><br>From the New Yorker, an article Hersh wrote last January:<br>--excerpt--<br>According to a former high-level intelligence official, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld met with the Joint Chiefs of Staff shortly after the election and told them, in essence, that the naysayers had been heard and the American people did not accept their message. Rumsfeld added that America was committed to staying in Iraq and that there would be no second-guessing. <br><br>“This is a war against terrorism, and Iraq is just one campaign. The Bush Administration is looking at this as a huge war zone,” the former high-level intelligence official told me. “Next, we’re going to have the Iranian campaign. We’ve declared war and the bad guys, wherever they are, are the enemy. This is the last hurrah—we’ve got four years, and want to come out of this saying we won the war on terrorism.”<br><br>Bush and Cheney may have set the policy, but it is Rumsfeld who has directed its implementation and has absorbed much of the public criticism when things went wrong—whether it was prisoner abuse in Abu Ghraib or lack of sufficient armor plating for G.I.s’ vehicles in Iraq. Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers have called for Rumsfeld’s dismissal, and he is not widely admired inside the military. Nonetheless, his reappointment as Defense Secretary was never in doubt. <br><br>Rumsfeld will become even more important during the second term. In interviews with past and present intelligence and military officials, I was told that the agenda had been determined before the Presidential election, and much of it would be Rumsfeld’s responsibility. The war on terrorism would be expanded, and effectively placed under the Pentagon’s control. The President has signed a series of findings and executive orders authorizing secret commando groups and other Special Forces units to conduct covert operations against suspected terrorist targets in as many as ten nations in the Middle East and South Asia. <br><br>The President’s decision enables Rumsfeld to run the operations off the books—free from legal restrictions imposed on the C.I.A. Under current law, all C.I.A. covert activities overseas must be authorized by a Presidential finding and reported to the Senate and House intelligence committees. (The laws were enacted after a series of scandals in the nineteen-seventies involving C.I.A. domestic spying and attempted assassinations of foreign leaders.) “The Pentagon doesn’t feel obligated to report any of this to Congress,” the former high-level intelligence official said. “They don’t even call it ‘covert ops’—it’s too close to the C.I.A. phrase. In their view, it’s ‘black reconnaissance.’ They’re not even going to tell the cincs”—the regional American military commanders-in-chief. (The Defense Department and the White House did not respond to requests for comment on this story.)<br><br>In my interviews, I was repeatedly told that the next strategic target was Iran. “Everyone is saying, ‘You can’t be serious about targeting Iran. Look at Iraq,’ ” the former intelligence official told me. “But they say, ‘We’ve got some lessons learned—not militarily, but how we did it politically. We’re not going to rely on agency pissants.’ No loose ends, and that’s why the C.I.A. is out of there.”<br>. . .<br>Rumsfeld planned and lobbied for more than two years before getting Presidential authority, in a series of findings and executive orders, to use military commandos for covert operations. One of his first steps was bureaucratic: to shift control of an undercover unit, known then as the Gray Fox (it has recently been given a new code name), from the Army to the Special Operations Command (socom), in Tampa. Gray Fox was formally assigned to socom in July, 2002, at the instigation of Rumsfeld’s office, which meant that the undercover unit would have a single commander for administration and operational deployment. Then, last fall, Rumsfeld’s ability to deploy the commandos expanded. According to a Pentagon consultant, an Execute Order on the Global War on Terrorism (referred to throughout the government as gwot) was issued at Rumsfeld’s direction. The order specifically authorized the military “to find and finish” terrorist targets, the consultant said. It included a target list that cited Al Qaeda network members, Al Qaeda senior leadership, and other high-value targets. The consultant said that the order had been cleared throughout the national-security bureaucracy in Washington.<br><br>In late November, 2004, the Times reported that Bush had set up an interagency group to study whether it “would best serve the nation” to give the Pentagon complete control over the C.I.A.’s own élite paramilitary unit, which has operated covertly in trouble spots around the world for decades. The panel’s conclusions, due in February, are foregone, in the view of many former C.I.A. officers. “It seems like it’s going to happen,” Howard Hart, who was chief of the C.I.A.’s Paramilitary Operations Division before retiring in 1991, told me. <br><br>There was other evidence of Pentagon encroachment. Two former C.I.A. clandestine officers, Vince Cannistraro and Philip Giraldi, who publish Intelligence Brief, a newsletter for their business clients, reported last month on the existence of a broad counter-terrorism Presidential finding that permitted the Pentagon “to operate unilaterally in a number of countries where there is a perception of a clear and evident terrorist threat. . . . A number of the countries are friendly to the U.S. and are major trading partners. Most have been cooperating in the war on terrorism.” The two former officers listed some of the countries—Algeria, Sudan, Yemen, Syria, and Malaysia. (I was subsequently told by the former high-level intelligence official that Tunisia is also on the list.)<br><br>Giraldi, who served three years in military intelligence before joining the C.I.A., said that he was troubled by the military’s expanded covert assignment. “I don’t think they can handle the cover,” he told me. “They’ve got to have a different mind-set. They’ve got to handle new roles and get into foreign cultures and learn how other people think. If you’re going into a village and shooting people, it doesn’t matter,” Giraldi added. “But if you’re running operations that involve finesse and sensitivity, the military can’t do it. Which is why these kind of operations were always run out of the agency.” I was told that many Special Operations officers also have serious misgivings. <br><br>Rumsfeld and two of his key deputies, Stephen Cambone, the Under-secretary of Defense for Intelligence, and Army Lieutenant General William G. (Jerry) Boykin, will be part of the chain of command for the new commando operations. Relevant members of the House and Senate intelligence committees have been briefed on the Defense Department’s expanded role in covert affairs, a Pentagon adviser assured me, but he did not know how extensive the briefings had been. <br><br>“I’m conflicted about the idea of operating without congressional oversight,” the Pentagon adviser said. “But I’ve been told that there will be oversight down to the specific operation.” A second Pentagon adviser agreed, with a significant caveat. “There are reporting requirements,” he said. “But to execute the finding we don’t have to go back and say, ‘We’re going here and there.’ No nitty-gritty detail and no micromanagement.”<br><br>The legal questions about the Pentagon’s right to conduct covert operations without informing Congress have not been resolved. “It’s a very, very gray area,” said Jeffrey H. Smith, a West Point graduate who served as the C.I.A.’s general counsel in the mid-nineteen-nineties. “Congress believes it voted to include all such covert activities carried out by the armed forces. The military says, ‘No, the things we’re doing are not intelligence actions under the statute but necessary military steps authorized by the President, as Commander-in-Chief, to “prepare the battlefield.” ’ ” Referring to his days at the C.I.A., Smith added, “We were always careful not to use the armed forces in a covert action without a Presidential finding. The Bush Administration has taken a much more aggressive stance.”<br><br>In his conversation with me, Smith emphasized that he was unaware of the military’s current plans for expanding covert action. But he said, “Congress has always worried that the Pentagon is going to get us involved in some military misadventure that nobody knows about.”<br><br>Under Rumsfeld’s new approach, I was told, U.S. military operatives would be permitted to pose abroad as corrupt foreign businessmen seeking to buy contraband items that could be used in nuclear-weapons systems. In some cases, according to the Pentagon advisers, local citizens could be recruited and asked to join up with guerrillas or terrorists. This could potentially involve organizing and carrying out combat operations, or even terrorist activities. Some operations will likely take place in nations in which there is an American diplomatic mission, with an Ambassador and a C.I.A. station chief, the Pentagon consultant said. The Ambassador and the station chief would not necessarily have a need to know, under the Pentagon’s current interpretation of its reporting requirement.<br><br>The new rules will enable the Special Forces community to set up what it calls “action teams” in the target countries overseas which can be used to find and eliminate terrorist organizations. “Do you remember the right-wing execution squads in El Salvador?” the former high-level intelligence official asked me, referring to the military-led gangs that committed atrocities in the early nineteen-eighties. “We founded them and we financed them,” he said. “The objective now is to recruit locals in any area we want. And we aren’t going to tell Congress about it.” A former military officer, who has knowledge of the Pentagon’s commando capabilities, said, “We’re going to be riding with the bad boys.”<br><br>One of the rationales for such tactics was spelled out in a series of articles by John Arquilla, a professor of defense analysis at the Naval Postgraduate School, in Monterey, California, and a consultant on terrorism for the rand corporation. “It takes a network to fight a network,” Arquilla wrote in a recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle: <br><br>When conventional military operations and bombing failed to defeat the Mau Mau insurgency in Kenya in the 1950s, the British formed teams of friendly Kikuyu tribesmen who went about pretending to be terrorists. These “pseudo gangs,” as they were called, swiftly threw the Mau Mau on the defensive, either by befriending and then ambushing bands of fighters or by guiding bombers to the terrorists’ camps. What worked in Kenya a half-century ago has a wonderful chance of undermining trust and recruitment among today’s terror networks. Forming new pseudo gangs should not be difficult. <br><br><br>“If a confused young man from Marin County can join up with Al Qaeda,” Arquilla wrote, referring to John Walker Lindh, the twenty-year-old Californian who was seized in Afghanistan, “think what professional operatives might do.”<br><br>A few pilot covert operations were conducted last year, one Pentagon adviser told me, and a terrorist cell in Algeria was “rolled up” with American help. The adviser was referring, apparently, to the capture of Ammari Saifi, known as Abderrezak le Para, the head of a North African terrorist network affiliated with Al Qaeda. But at the end of the year there was no agreement within the Defense Department about the rules of engagement. “The issue is approval for the final authority,” the former high-level intelligence official said. “Who gets to say ‘Get this’ or ‘Do this’?” <br><br>A retired four-star general said, “The basic concept has always been solid, but how do you insure that the people doing it operate within the concept of the law? This is pushing the edge of the envelope.” The general added, “It’s the oversight. And you’re not going to get Warner”—John Warner, of Virginia, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee—“and those guys to exercise oversight. This whole thing goes to the Fourth Deck.” He was referring to the floor in the Pentagon where Rumsfeld and Cambone have their offices. <br><br>“It’s a finesse to give power to Rumsfeld—giving him the right to act swiftly, decisively, and lethally,” the first Pentagon adviser told me. “It’s a global free-fire zone.” <br><br>The Pentagon has tried to work around the limits on covert activities before. In the early nineteen-eighties, a covert Army unit was set up and authorized to operate overseas with minimal oversight. The results were disastrous. The Special Operations program was initially known as Intelligence Support Activity, or I.S.A., and was administered from a base near Washington (as was, later, Gray Fox). It was established soon after the failed rescue, in April, 1980, of the American hostages in Iran, who were being held by revolutionary students after the Islamic overthrow of the Shah’s regime. At first, the unit was kept secret from many of the senior generals and civilian leaders in the Pentagon, as well as from many members of Congress. It was eventually deployed in the Reagan Administration’s war against the Sandinista government, in Nicaragua. It was heavily committed to supporting the Contras. By the mid-eighties, however, the I.S.A.’s operations had been curtailed, and several of its senior officers were courtmartialled following a series of financial scandals, some involving arms deals. The affair was known as “the Yellow Fruit scandal,” after the code name given to one of the I.S.A.’s cover organizations—and in many ways the group’s procedures laid the groundwork for the Iran-Contra scandal.<br>. . .<br>Porter Goss, Tenet’s successor, engaged in what the recently retired C.I.A. official described as a “political purge” in the D.I. Among the targets were a few senior analysts who were known to write dissenting papers that had been forwarded to the White House. The recently retired C.I.A. official said, “The White House carefully reviewed the political analyses of the D.I. so they could sort out the apostates from the true believers.” Some senior analysts in the D.I. have turned in their resignations—quietly, and without revealing the extent of the disarray. <br><br>(etc.)<br>******<br><br>This is SO amazingly short-sighted and downright stupid. The Administration is deliberately confounding diplomatic negotiation with Iran in the apparant wish to use its lack of success as a justification for an overwhelming show of destructive force (no doubt using another several-billion-dollars of Raytheon missiles), being manipulated by Israel's promises to launch a raid if Europe or the US doesn't act to destroy Iran's nuclear capability. Meanwhile, El Presidente' Busho has been maneuvered to have unprecedented sole-authority over Pentagon assets, esp. in running black ops, off-the-books and secret from Congressional oversight, on ten nations as HE and his coterie of military-obsessed goons, chief-among-them Rummy, see fit -- all in the convenient never-land zone of gray-gray-gray-area legality. Of course, one of the biggest tragicomic ironies is that the US has been waging a low-intensity nuclear war using its OWN highly sophisticated Weapons of Mass Destruction featuring ceramic uranium-oxide poison gas in the Middle East going back 15 years, which has already disabled a third of Gulf War One troops and caused an unprecedented spike in cancers and birth defects in the citizens of Iraq and Afghanistan. Past and current US administrations are clearly accountable for war crimes by the standards of the Geneva and Nuremberg conventions, despite obviously self-interested Pentagon stonewalling and denials. All this shows to what extraordinary extent US Foreign Policy has been hijacked from a true democratic republic and delivered to the Administration and Pentagon absent any Congressional oversight. The President (sic) has already led the nation to war based on fraud and lies, and now seems intent in provoking another. Where's the outraged opposition to such unconscionable abuse of authority?<br><br>Oh, and for 'another' bit of astounding duplicity and irony -- the Pentagon's lack of accurate Humint in the Middle East, esp. Iran, was compounded by the White House's (Rove's fingerprints are onnit, as too perhaps Bolton's) authorization of the Plame leak, which compromised the covert counter-intel nuclear weapons organization she was involved in. The White House's covering for such egregious betrayal is yet another example of how this Administration has institutionalized treason, effectively right under the public's radar. Shame and stupidity have rarely forged such a tight alliance as through the Bush coup of America, which will likely be the cause for future generations to wail and gnash their teeth at the public perfidy and their parents' common-sense out-to-lunch.<br><br>The article's description above of the 'political purge' at the CIA's Directorate of Intelligence means that all dissenting views have been eliminated, accompanied by the resignation of long-term analysts and agents who are appalled at this 'new' turn of events (and as retired CIA-agent Ray McGovern has described, leading to disarray and tremendously-low morale in the agency) -- as the last vestige of a balanced, reasoned perspective has been removed, encouraging the WH and Pentagon in their most extreme, reactionary and biased interpretation of foreign intelligence (a real oxymoron in the fumbling, incompetant hands of the neocon gang and their glee club.)<br><br>Congress sure abdicated their responsibility in rolling-over to the transparant scheming of the NWO/neocon gang, which adds to granting Rummy operational control of the Pentagon by giving him eminent authority over intelligence -- another sign of our ongoing Congressional crisis.<br>It just keeps getting worse, as Madmen are being given keys to the death machine while 'just folks' are distracted by fake 'news' nonsense.<br>Starman<br> <p></p><i></i>
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