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22 September 2007

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Martin K

The russians have a word for it: Maskirovka. Meaning an elaborate play designed to obfuscate the hand being played.

Cieran

We've outsourced just about everything else of value in this nation to foreign suppliers. So why not outsource our intelligence gathering and interpretation operations to Israel?

And while we're at it, maybe we should outsource the design and manufacture of the Reliable Replacement Warhead to Pakistan! Labor costs are much lower there.

If we keep this up, we might even save enough money to start another war!

Charles I

I can buy the Israeli proprietary intelligence argument. Even if there were no caveats on the intel, well, when was the last time you saw a Flathead sharing anything that was accurate about anything - even within their own government? Stove-piping of reality and gibberish alike for whatever purposes, but ensure that your intel 1) isn't subjected to scrutiny by your fellows once bitten twice shy; 2) the terrorists are listening!

David W

Nothing suspicious at all here, no siree. Just the latest variation of the 'documents from Niger.' Of course Hadley doesn't want them debunked until it's (hopefuly for them) too late.

Who do you believe? From Syria Comment:

As far back as 2002, Charles Duelfer of the United Nations Iraq Survey Group called then Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security, John Bolton's nuclear claims against Syria "exaggerated." It was also the assessment of the CIA. In 2004, Muhammad El Baradei chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reiterated that there was no evidence Syria had a nuclear program.

That would be the same ElBaradei that was right about Iraq, and the same Bolton who has been 'historically wrong' on so many things it's hard to keep count.

(fwiw, 'historically wrong' is what Bolton called Jon Stewart when Stewart had him on his show and asked why the Bush administration wasn't more bipartisan in its approach like the Lincoln administration. Then Stewart cut to his guest, Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of 'Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln' whose book put the lie to Bolton's assertion. The man is a sock puppet with a mustache.)

Anyway, back to Israel--are we supposed to be flattered that they are now spying 'for' us instead of 'against' us? I'd like to know if any of our other allies maintain such an active spy program against the US. I don't recall British MI6 spying activities against the US, but perhaps it just doesn't get publicized as much?

Finally, Ahmadenijad is playing a good game--it is funny to see the sock puppets howling at his visit to NYC. The man isn't Hitler, or even Saddam, so why are they so afraid to let him speak?

I most enjoyed his call for inspections of the Israeli nuclear program--that seems reasonable, so why would they be against it, and on what basis can they refuse?

Jack Kemp

UHTTFY. think for yourself? If Hadley's involved, there should be red flags all over this bit of psyops against US citizens. add this gem from the memory hole to the mix.
_________
DECEMBER 13, 2002
A Spanish government spokesman said Thursday that the United States had apologized for the diplomatic fight over the interception of a missile-carrying North Korean freighter that was seized by Spanish warships at Washington's request and then embarrassingly allowed to proceed to Yemen with the shipment.
The United States, which took control of the seized freighter from the two Spanish warships that had captured it, then allowed it to go on its way, apparently concerned that holding the vessel would alienate a geostrategic ally in the war against terrorism.


Serving Patriot

Well,

Too many independent thinkers and analysts ruin a perfectly good (pre-)decided "fact"!

SP

blowback

So the senior officials would be Dick Cheney and who else? And just why did the Israelis insist on the restriction? Because any half decent-analysts, would point out that the Israeli analysis was wrong or someone in Israeli intelligence got to work with Photoshop?

What is to stop the CIA taking a look themselves or has Hadley declared that part of Syria off-limits to everyone except the Israelis? For that matter. GeoEye probably already has the relevant pictures anyway.

Soonmyung Hong

I wonder how senior policymaker bypass most IC's review and use raw intelligence made by foreign agency.

It seems to me yet another stovepiping operation.

psd

UHTTFY?

Help! If I ever knew, I can't remember....

Soonmyung Hong

Apparently six-party talk will be delayed an uncertain period by this news. Most of all South Korean assume U.S. Government as a rational actor. So they confused. "What does U.S. really want? Six-party talk off-track again?"

JDL

I cannot imagine Syria trying to develop nuclear weapons. They don't have the money or expertise to do so. Remember Libya tried for years and never got very far, even with A.Q. Khan's help.

The missing NK Plutonium(6-8 bombs worth)will have to be accounted for in the new US-NK deal. Even if NK passed a few lumps of Plutonium to Syria, it would be a LONG way from being able to produce a weapon of any type. NK's own bomb test was a semi-dud. About all that could be done by Syria with some extra nuclear material is to put it in the business end of a scud to scatter dirty bomb material in Tel Aviv.

I lean in the direction of the US and Israel promoting Syria as a nuclear danger along with Iran so we can go to war aginst Iran and Israel will take on Syria.

Mo

Nasrallah promises Israel a surprise if they attack again.

Intelligence agencies want to know what it is.

Some sort of anti-aircraft that can be mobile or well hidden?

One way to find out. Fly low sorties over Lebanon to provoke an attack.

But HA, as ever keeps its cards close for when it matters. But hey, if HA has 'em, so does Syria and Iran.

So lets fly over there and see what gets fired at us.

CSTAR

I agree with JDL that the Syria nuclear program hypothesis is just too implausible.

Has anybody looked at Google satellite imagery? I just tried but I don't have a clue whether anything could be read off of what' available. Of course this is a real long shot, but if something did exist worth destroying, it probably wasn't built ovenight.

JohnH

After considerable ruminating over this puzzle, here are some thoughts. Israel, rightly or wrongly, was obviously spooked by something it saw in the Syrian desert. That could be why there was this on-again, off-again talk of war between Israel and Syria this Spring and Summer. Syria claimed to be suing for peace, but Israel kept quietly hinting at the possibility of war. Now that Syria has taken out whatever it was in the desert, Israel is reported to have moved its troops back to the South. And now that he has given Syria a black eye, Olmert has indicated that he wants peace.

Now the question is whether Olmert is serious or just playing games. Perhaps Olmert simply decided to mount a gigantic provocation to test Syria's intentions. Satisfied at the outcome, perhaps he can afford to be appear generous.

And then the question becomes whether Syria is in the mood to test Olmert's generosity, which not coincidently comes just in time for grandstanding at the November peace conference. Or will Syria want to rebuild its deterrence first, if in fact something critical was destroyed?

Montag

Alfred Hitchcock called this sort of thing a "McGuffin"--an object whose only purpose is to have the plot revolve around it. In "The Maltese Falcon" the bird statuette that everyone schemes and kills for proves to be worthless at the end when it has served its purpose.

Back in the 1980s when the Reagan Administration wanted to bust up some country they'd show photos of a 10,000 foot airport runway that the "Commies" were building.

W. Patrick Lang

Montag

"McGuffin? pl

David W

Good call Montag--though it's actually spelled 'Macguffin.'

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macguffin

Will

the wiki has more on Operation Orchard. Ehud Barark, the former PM and former commander of Sayeret Matkal, the commando unit, is getting a lot of milage out of it.

It is said that the commando unit, Sayeret Matkal, extracted nuke material.

If this operation did take place. Why couldn't the planes have overflown Jordan, used the huge American base in Western Anbar, laid over, rested, then flown East. After a paint job if needed. I would think there would be no love lost b/n the Royal Jordanians and the Syrians.

JDL

Update - The Times of London reports nuclear material was seized by the IDF before the bombing. Suppossedly, this "proves" the NK nuclear link. Of course the Israeli papers now point to the Times article as "proof".

If indeed there was proof, I cannot imagine the Israelis and Bush not trumpeting this all over the world. What purpose would be served by keeping quiet? None that I can see.

johnf

JDL

>Update - The Times of London reports nuclear material was seized by the IDF before the bombing. Suppossedly, this "proves" the NK nuclear link. Of course the Israeli papers now point to the Times article as "proof".

The Sunday Times of London is a Murdoch neo/con rag which regularly floats dodgy war party stories which are then picked up by the MSM in America and then touted as accurate because they have a "Times of London" imprint.

Last week they had a similar story on Syria and before that many on the imminence of Iranian nuclear bombs.

Murdoch perfected the scam back in the 90's. A Murdoch "newspaper" here would run a lurid but unprintable (in the US) story about, say, Monica Lewinsky. Drudge would then pick it up and run with it on his site. The ground having been softened, Murdoch publications would then run it in his papers in the States.

Stories about WMDs etc in the run up to the Iraq War were similarly run first in British Murdoch papers.

confusedponderer

So nuclear material was found?

That explanation can be stretched to a considerable extent without, technically speaking, being lying.

Macguffin? Good one.

ckrantz

I assume everyone have seen these pieces in the times. Checkmate and its planning functions seems to be based in reality at least.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article2512097.ece
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article2512247.ece

JohnH

How about a MacGuffin whose purpose was to plant false information about nuclear materials and give dispirited Israeli military leaders their first, desperately needed "victory" since the Hezbollah debacle? Who knows, it might even help Olmert's abysmal poll numbers.

johnf

JohnH

>Who knows, it might even help Olmert's abysmal poll numbers.

I think it briefly do a dead cat jump, but then this happened:


Israeli PM faces corruption probe

Mr Olmert has insisted he has not done anything wrong

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is to face a criminal investigation into his purchase of a Jerusalem property, the justice ministry has said.

The move came after a government watchdog concluded Mr Olmert paid $325,000 (£162,500) below market value for the house.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7010565.stm

Vanasek

Col. Lang,

Given all the misinforation in the media and official government silence (us, the Israelis and Syrians) about what happened two weeks ago in the remote Syria desert, I think it would be informative for all of us if you would give your view about what is really happening behind the scenes.

As best as I can tell, here is what we know as fact: on the night of Sept. 6th, an unknown number of Israeli planes penetrated Syrian airspace and convergered upon a location in the desert, then flew back to Israel.

That leads to a number of questions:

1. What were they doing?

Various reports stated that they were either (a) attacking a nuclear facility; (b) attacking a shipment of nuclear material delivered from North Korea; (c) attacking a shipment of missles delivered from North Korea; or (d) testing newly installed Syrian air defense systems.

For the reasons you stated in an earlier post, I find both (a) and (b) pretty outlandish although that won't prevent the neocons from using them to justify further actions against Syria. Reason (d) also seems implausible since I don't know why Israel would put men, planes and reputation at risk on such a stunt. Reason (c) seems a little more reasonable but if that were the case, wouldn't the Syrians be screaming about such an attack on their territory???

However, none of these are fully convincing and seem to be red herrings thron out into the media to mislead people from what really happened. Thus I think we need to look at other possible alternatives like perhaps the target was a person and not a facility or arms shipment?

2. Was there an attack at all?

Lost in all the speculation is that there hasn't been one picture of bomb damage, one witness, one innocent civilian killed, one funeral broadcast or any other item of propaganda which you think the Syrians or would use to sway world opinion to their side. Likewise, there has been nothing from the Israelis or us (think of all the cockpit footage form the Iraq war) showing us blowing up a high valued target. Thus I think at least have to be a little bit skeptical if any bombs were dropped at all, before rushing to judgement over what happened.

3. Was there any US involvement?

Did we supply the Israelis with any intelligence, satellite photos, jamming equipment or at the extreme send in a cruise missle or Predator drone in the operation?

4. If was a real attack on a true target, how did the Israelis pull off the operation?

Obviously, they first needed accurate, actionable, real-time intelligence about the target's location and value. That would mean having assets somewhere in the Syrian govenment or military or elsewhere providing good information. It would also mean possibly having eyes (on the ground watching the target or satellite or arial cameras) if it were mobile like a truck convoy of missles.

5. What all the silence from the Syrians?

Are they simply embarassed that their air defenses were easily penetrated? Were they doing something illicit that they don't want exposed? Did they not mind that Israel did some dirty work for them?

6. Why all the silence from the Americans and Israelis?

You think an embattled Bush (and the neocons) or Olmert would be gloating over the sucessful foiling of arms or nuclear materials smuggling or wanting to frame Syria in a negative light.

Sorry for being so long-winded and for posing more questinos than answers with my post, but something seems fishy about the whole episode and ensuing aftermath and I hope that either you or your readers can put their thinking caps on and come up with some real answers.

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