Waging Covert War on Iran - by Stephen Lendman
Washington and Israel plan regime change in Iran and Syria. Israel wants regional supremacy. Washington wants global hegemony and control of the world's strategic resources.
America tolerates no independent states. Making them client ones is prioritized.
Insurgent infiltrators ravaged Syria for months. Libya's model was replicated short of NATO intervention perhaps to follow.
Washington, Israel, and rogue allies use many destabilization tactics. They include fake accusations, political and economic sanctions, isolation, covert and direct confrontation, cyberwar, targeted assassinations, and other provocations short of war perhaps planned.
Accusing Iran of developing nuclear weapons is a red herring. In December 2007, America's National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) said:
"We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program; (perhaps it never existed); we also assess with moderate-to-high confidence that Tehran at a minimum is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons..."
The NIE also said:
"We assess with moderate confidence Tehran had not restarted its nuclear program as of mid-2007, but we do not know whether it currently intends to develop (them)."
"Tehran's decision to halt its nuclear weapons program suggests it is less determined to develop (them) than we have been judging since 2005."
In February 2010, America's Annual Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence said:
"We do not know....if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons." No evidence of an ongoing program was presented.
In March 2011, the US Intelligence Community Worldwide Threat Assessment for the Senate Armed Services Committee said precisely the same thing. Nothing new suggested an Iranian nuclear weapons program.
In other words, years of sophisticated satellite, covert, and other intelligence showed nothing.
Yet baseless accusations persist. Major media scoundrels highlight them. Hostile rhetoric is featured. On January 10, a Washington Post editorial headlined, "The US needs to intensify sanctions on Iran," saying:
Iran's Fordo facility began enriching uranium to 20%, "80 percent of the processing needed to produce bomb-grade material.... "Iran claims" it's "for a research reactor."
"In short, the new (Fordo) operation crosses another important line in Iran's advance toward a nuclear weapons capability. Was it a red line for Israel or the United States?"
Producing medical isotopes requires 20% enriched uranium. IAEA cameras monitor operations. In addition, regular inspections are conducted. No evidence suggests Iran's diverting uranium for military purposes.
Moreover, as explained above, the combined (16-agency) US intelligence assessment found no evidence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program. Post editors ignored it. Instead, spurious, provocative, hawkish allegations are featured, not truth and full disclosure.
Iran's "unwilling to stop its nuclear activities or even to make significant concessions....This doesn't mean that the Obama administration should reject further dialogue, or take military action. It does mean that every effort must be made to intensify sanctions - and in particular to stop....Iranian sales of oil everywhere in the world."
"Iran may be feeling some economic pain, and it may be isolated. But its drive for nuclear weapons continues."
Iran's a Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) signatory. No evidence suggests violations to its provisions. In contrast, America, Israel and rogue allies spurn all international law, including NPT's three pillars:
• disarmament; and
• using nuclear technology peacefully.
For decades, Israel's been nuclear armed and dangerous. Its grand strategy dictates nuclear weapons use in response to unspecified "nonconventional" attacks. It also suggests preemptive use against Iran's underground facilities, and has US-supplied bunker buster capability for it. Perhaps a joint US/Israeli attack is planned.
Moreover, Israel's a nuclear outlaw. It never signed NPT and prohibits Dimona facility inspections. For decades, it illegally produced warheads. Heroic whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu exposed it. Knowledgeable experts confirmed it. Media scoundrels suppress it.
Covert Operations and Other Destabilization Tactics
For years, Washington pushed the envelope with Iran. The Bush administration authorized covert CIA destabilization. Congress appropriated $400 million for it. Obama continues similar policies.
In spring 2010, Iranian intelligence discovered the Stuxnet malware computer virus infecting its Bushehr nuclear facility. At the time, operations were halted indefinitely.
Israel was blamed. Washington was also implicated. Calling it a hostile act, General Gholam-Reza Jalali said if Bushehr went online infected, Iran's entire electrical power grid could have been shut down.
On November 12, 2011, an explosion destroyed the Revolutionary Guard's Bid Kaneh base. Seventeen deaths resulted, including a founder of Iran's missile program.
On November 28, another Isfahan explosion badly damaged a uranium enrichment facility. On December 11, a Yazd explosion at a steel mill allegedly linked to Iran's nuclear program killed at least seven.
On December 4, Washington's sophisticated stealth RQ-170 drone illegally entered Iranian airspace. Iran downed it intact by hacking into its cyber system. Its design replicates America's B-2 stealth bomber.
Since 2006, five rounds of sanctions were imposed, as well as numerous bilateral restrictions banning trade, financial transactions, energy investment and technology sales.
Provisions in Washington's FY 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) target foreign financial institutions dealing with Tehran's central bank. US corporations, including banks, already can't do business with the Islamic Republic.
Curtailing Iran's ability to sell oil is key. Other provisions affect refined petroleum products, liquified natural gas, natural gas resources, oil or liquified natural gas tankers, and products used to construct or maintain pipelines for oil or liquified natural gas.
In addition, measures prohibit developing infrastructure, ports, buying Iranian sovereign debt, and companies helping Tehran, North Korea or Syria pursue nuclear, chemical or biological weapons, as well as missile capability.
Ron Paul calls Iranian sanctions "acts of war," perhaps preceding hot conflict. "Sanctions were the first step in our wars against Iraq and Libya," he said, "and now more sanctions against Syria and Iran are leading down the same destructive path. Sanctions against Iran are definite steps toward a US attack."
Gary Sick, Middle East analyst/former National Security Council member, also calls Washington's latest sanctions "the equivalent of a military blockade of Iran's ports, arguably an act of war."
Spurious reports suggested Russian nanodiamond expert Vyacheslav Danilenko helped Iran develop nuclear weapons. In fact, he's a noted authority on developing nandiamond technology by explosives.
Employed at the All-Russian Scientific Research Institute of Technical Physics until 1989, his work entailed synthesizing diamonds, not nuclear technology. As part of the Institute's gas dynamics group, he began studying the process in 1960.
He later joined Prague's Institute of Materials Science Problems, then based in Ukraine.
Assassinating Iranian Nuclear Scientists
On January 11, Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, an academic and nuclear official at Iran's Natanz facility, was assassinated. Mossad, CIA, Britain's MI6, and/or US covert Special Forces were likely responsible.
A powerful sticky bomb was attached to Roshan's car. Its detonation killed him, seriously injured his driver, and caused extensive damage.
Wednesday's killing was the fourth targeting Iranian scientists involved in its nuclear program since 2010. Current head of Iran's atomic agency, Fereydoun Abbasi, narrowly escaped an attempt on his life.
Last November, missile expert/General Hassan Moghaddam was killed in the blast at Bid Baneh base outside Tehran.
In July 2011, gunmen on motorcyles killed Dariush Rezaeinejad, a member of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization (IAEA). His electronics work involved developing high voltage switches.
In May 2011, an Iranian Abadan oil refinery explosion killed one and injured six.
In November 2010, a bomb attached to his car killed nuclear engineer Majid Shahriyari.
In January 2010, a bomb outside his home killed nuclear scientist/Professor Massoud Ali-Mohammadi.
In response to the latest incident, Iranian vice president Mohammad Reza Rahimi said, "Iran's enemies should know they cannot prevent Iran's progress by carrying out such terrorist attacks."
On January 10, Israeli chief of staff Benny Gantz called 2012 a "critical year" for Iran," partly from "things that happen to it unnaturally."
On January 11, New York Times writer Scott Shane headlined, 'Adversaries of Iran Said to Be Stepping Up Cover Actions," saying:
"(A)n accelerating covert campaign of assassinations, bombings, cyberattacks," and other actions target Iran, "according to current and former (unnamed) American officials and (Iranian) specialists...."
They suggest Israel's mainly responsible. Iran also blames Washington. White House and State Department spokespersons denied involvement. So did Hillary Clinton "categorically." Perhaps "the lady doth protest too much (Hamlet, Act III, scene II)."
Israeli military spokesman General Yoav Mordechai claimed no knowledge of Wednesday's killing, but added he's "definitely not shedding a tear."
Washington Institute for Near East Policy's Patrick Clawson said he's "often asked when Israel might attack Iran. I say, 'two years ago.' "
Iran's UN ambassador Mohammad Khazaee protested in a letter to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, blaming "certain foreign quarters (of) terrorist acts" targeting Iran's "peaceful nuclear program, under the false assumption that diplomacy alone would not be enough for that purpose."
He suggested joint US/Israeli involvement.
The Times reported that current and former US officials say "(t)he CIA has repeatedly tried to derail Iran's uranium enrichment program by covert means, including introducing sabotaged parts into (its) supply chain."
It also said Wednesday's assassination "fit a pattern over the past two years of covert operations by the West and its allies to 'degrade and delay' Iran's nuclear program."
France's Le Figaro said "the US and Israel have carried out multiple acts of sabotage against sensitive nuclear installations, while ordering targeted killings of Iranian nuclear experts."
Former CIA case officer Art Keller told the Los Angeles Times, "We are definitely doing that. It's pretty much the stated mission of (CIA's) counter-proliferation division to do what it takes to slow....Iran's weapons of mass destruction."
Iranian nuclear scientist defections are also encouraged. In fact, Shahram Amiri claims CIA operatives kidnapped him. Press TV reported he said US and Saudi forces abducted him 2009 while on a pilgrimage to Mecca. They tried to bribe him to say he escaped from Iran.
"Amiri insisted that he was offered $10 million to appear on CNN and announce that he had willingly defected to the US." Instead, he took refuge in Pakistan's Washington embassy, "urging an 'immediate return' to Iran." He later dismissed comments about his defection. Iran held America responsible, saying Amiri was freed after refusing to cooperate.
A Final Comment
Washington, Israel and rogue allies perhaps intend 2012 to be decisive. Both Iran and Syria are targeted. If regime change by other means fail, expect war to follow with potentially devastating consequences.
Nonetheless, hawkish fools seem intent on rushing in where angels fear to tread. Expect ordinary people to suffer most. This time could be catastrophic.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.