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14 May 2009

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J

Colonel,

One can 'hope' that the twilight for Netanyahu is 'falling' -- quickly. And that for once, U.S. Mideast policies will be about what is best for the U.S, and not what is best for the Israelis.

Watching the Israeli Kidons trying to craft their wares in Iran would be an interesting comedy to watch, especially where they stick out like a sore thumb, and the salient fact that the Persians invented the game of chess.


Tom Griffin

"According to U.S. sources, in 2004, the CIA had lost its entire agent network in Iran when a CIA headquarters communications officer was about to send instructions to an agent via its Inmarsat transmitter/receivers. The CIA officer attempted to download data intended for a single operative, but accidentally hit a button that sent it to the entire U.S. spy network in Iran, these sources said."

Strange. There's a remarkably similar story (with a quote from Philip Giraldi) in Tim Weiner's book about the CIA sending the same letter to 40 different Iranian agents in 1989.

Mary

Colonel:

Well, all of Netanyahu's friends that had control of the levers of power in the US have been discredited so the efforts to portray Netanyahu as a super-smooth operator are rather laughable. I would add that the general observations as to Netanyahu apply to Israeli society as a whole. It reminds me of when George Bush was reelected and the headlines read "How could 57 million people be so stupid?"

When your foremost US asset is Dick Cheney, it seems pretty obvious that you're going to have some serious problems with your US foreign policy. And when Dick Cheney has to go on cable TV and whine, "Why won't they call my Dad?", it's embarrassing.

On the other hand, these people are reckless and dangerous.

P.S. On a side note, the electromagnetic pulse (EMP) angle in Mr. Sale's story provides a nice parallel to Newt Gingrich's peddling the line that the threat Iran poses to the US is that they will come here and use EMPs against our infrastructure. I thought he was just making it up.

Mary

I meant to say when LIZ Cheney goes on cable TV and whines, "Why don't they call my Dad?"

Meanwhile, Liz's Dad is accompanying her to her debates on the grave threat that Iran poses to the US so that he can leak to the press the line, "The US is all alone against the world conspiracy to deny us our objectives in Iran, which poses a grave threat to US security."

It just feels broken to me. But maybe Netanyahu can fix everything. After all, they do tell us he is an honest broker who never did sign on to the "Clean Break" strategy prepared for him in the 1990's by the architects of the Iraq war and which morphed into the PNAC strategy for wars on Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, ...

Highlander

Does no one wonder about the "slack jawed, blank eyed" idiot CIA communications officer in Langley? Who pushes the wrong send button, and wipes out our entire agent network in Iran, and probably several dozen lifes.

In keeping with modern American management theory he was probably promoted to a GS 17 status, and put in charge of all CIA conmunications security.

After he does all the damage he can do in Spookville. He will probably be invited to Wall Street to help revive the Credit Default Swaps market.

blowback

After the US invasion of Iraq, there were reports from Iraq that Iran assassination squads were going round that country killing Iraqi pilots implicated in the "War of the Cities". If the Israelis were really killing Iranians, does anybody think that the Iranians would do nothing?

I have the feeling that this like a number of other spectacular but unofficial claims about Israeli daring-do is no more that a propaganda event designed to make the Israelis look tough after their defeat by Hezbollah in 2006.

The other "spectacular" events include the bombing of a warehouse by the Euphrates, the bombing of an "arms convoy" in Sudan and the sinking of an "arms ship" in the Red Sea.

arbogast

Asked about the mounting administration disapproval, Clawson said of the killings, “It would be implausible to call off all covert ops.” He added, “If the U.S. pressures Israel, then the Israelis will simply stop talking to us about it.”

Why would they talk to us about it in the first place?

Fred

If Israel is going to stop Iranian nuclear weapons development in this manner they will need to kill all Iranian physicists until the end of time. Then they'll have to start killing physicists friendly to Iran. Then they'll have to kill anyone who might sell actual plans…. Of course if Iran already has the actual plans they'll have to kill all the machinists and technicians who might actually build the thing.

Israel will need much more ammunition; of course better ideas might be more productive. As to the reference to Black September, that was a Palestinian, not Iranian, organization. Thirty seven years of retaliatory and pre-emptive killing has made Israel safer?

EMP weapons? Why would a terrorist organization go to the trouble and expense when they can always disable a power grid with those ancient weapons of greed and incompetence:
http://www.pserc.wisc.edu/Timeline.pdf
http://www.ontariotenants.ca/electricity/articles/2004/ts-04d06.phtml

Think of all the money Wall Street made by not investing in transmission capacity, tree trimming or even employee training.

Tom Griffin

Just to clarify my comments above. I hope it doesn't read as if I'm casting any aspersions on Mr Sale's very interesting piece. I just thought it remarkable that the CIA network in Iran should apparently have been rolled up twice though very similar mistakes.

Mary

I wonder what Israel is planning to do to counter the increasingly ubiquitous YouTube videos of actual IDF operations against civilians in the occupied territories? One shudders at the possible answers to that question.

Patrick Lang

Dear Mr. Griffin:

I did not in any crib Phil Giraldi's story. He and Vince Cannistraro are partners, and I talk as a matter of course with Vince and usually forward my work to him.

The story I quoted originally was reported by Jim Risen of the New York Times and I had forgotten entirely about it until I found myself talking to Risen's source, a former very senior CIA official who was alerting me the vast amounts of hearsay relating to Iran and U.S. activities aimed at disabling it.

He verified Risen's account and added details and I read the finished version to another former U.S. intelligence official who said my details were basically correct. He also gave me the name of another countryto which we passed fake plans, but the general opinion is that the whole design is flawed, the mistakes too easy for the target to spot.

What is Tom Griffin. org?

Thank you for the comment but I would not plagiarize soemone else;s work. I like Giraldi's stuff very much.

With best regards,

Richard

Babak Makkinejad

Fred:

In an interview published in Austria several years ago, Mr. Van Creveld, stated that he does not trust any people on Earth [to not be enemies of Jews].

When pressed by the interviewer, he stated that he only trusted the Persians [Iranians]!

This is an interesting world we live in, you must admit.

It is interesting the that the way the Israelis argue this planet is not safe for Jews.

Thus the necessity for the rest of mankind to find another planet to which we all could relocate.

Perhaps we could call that planet America II.

Fred

Babak,

Thanks for the reference, which I looked up on wiki, I assume this is what you referred to:
In a September 2003 interview in Elsevier (Dutch weekly) on Israel and the dangers it faces from Iran, the Palestinians and world opinion van Creveld stated:

"We possess several hundred atomic warheads and rockets and can launch them at targets in all directions, perhaps even at Rome. Most European capitals are targets for our air force…. We have the capability to take the world down with us. And I can assure you that that will happen before Israel goes under."

If you have a link to the original please let me know, this quote could easily be out of context as I could think of nothing that would guarantee Israel's demise than retaliation against Europe for an attack by someone else.

Coincidentally I was looking up a reference on Senator Lugar of Indiana for a completely unrelated subject yet found this link on nuclear arms reduction.
http://lugar.senate.gov/nunnlugar/scorecard.html

Yes it is an interesting world. Perhaps it is time for the 'world's only super power' to use that power to get Israel and Iran to sign up to nuclear arms reductions. Israel can reduce their weapons stcokpile (are they truly safe?) and Iran can agree to stay at zero.

curious

Secret Database of Israeli Settlements

http://www.fas.org/irp/world/israel/database-e.pdf

some newer description of Israel nuke and possible respond.
https://secure.wikileaks.org/wiki/Israeli_Nuclear_Armageddon_www.armagedon.org.il_official_mirror

---------

support wiki leak people. It's a good thing.
https://secure.wikileaks.org/wiki/Israel
https://secure.wikileaks.org/wiki/Category:Iran

Mark Stuart

Dear Colonel:
I tried to contact you by email but it was return undelivered. So i'm trying on here. Sorry for the inconvenience.

I just watched '60 minutes' about Ashraf Marwan and although it is old news, i'm wondering if you could do a post about it?
Considering the current news in the US about Dr. Uzi Arad, Congresswoman Harmon, Larry Franklin AIPAC and their clique's infiltration of our intelligence community, i thought it could be enlightening and interesting.

Respectfully yours,
Mark Stuart

linda

this little nugget ran in al kamen's column yesterday:

NOW, THAT'S LOBBYING

Speaking of Iran and that region, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) and Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) sent out a "Dear Colleague" e-mail Tuesday asking for signatures "to the attached letter to President Obama regarding the Middle East peace process."

The letter says the usual stuff, emphasizing that Washington "must be both a trusted mediator and a devoted friend to Israel" and noting: "Israel will be taking the greatest risks in any peace agreement."

Curiously, when we opened the attachment, we noticed it was named "AIPAC Letter Hoyer Cantor May 2009.pdf."

Seems as though someone forgot to change the name or something. AIPAC? The American Israel Public Affairs Committee? Is that how this stuff works?

Cold War Zoomie

Does no one wonder about the "slack jawed, blank eyed" idiot CIA communications officer in Langley? Who pushes the wrong send button, and wipes out our entire agent network in Iran, and probably several dozen lifes.

People will always make mistakes. Anyone who has been in the telecommunications business for over a decade has their "oh shite" story where they've f*cked up royaly.

The only people who haven't are the slackers who are too afraid to work on anything.

That's why all sorts of systems have safeguards to make them idiot-proof. I would look at the system design first. It should have been designed with the assumption that people screw up, especially with lives on the line.

Sad to say, some of the most robust systems are built for the financial industry - heaven forbid a stock purchase order is not executed within milliseconds! Maybe the CIA should hire some of those guys to design and operate their telecom systems.

As for the main gist of this article, I don't find this surprising at all. I doubt the assassinations will do much good beyond making Israel believe they are taking care of the problem.

David Habakkuk

Fred,

The van Creveld interview in the Dutch magazine Elsevier is at:

http://www.rense.com/general34/dutchisraelimilitary.htm

As you suspect, these remarks really do need to be taken in context -- indeed they are a classic example of quite how misleading remarks taken out of context can be.

What van Creveld was saying was that, by continuing along the routes down which they were headed, Israelis would 'destroy ourselves.' He personally advocated building a wall ’so high that not even a bird could fly over it’ along the old border, but he doubted whether Israeli public opinion would wear this any longer -- they would not surrender the gains of 1967, hanging on to which means trying to control a large Palestinian population. But as he saw it -- and for what it is worth van Creveld is widely regarded as a a leading authority on wars against non-state actors -- the long-term suppression of such a population was impossible.

Accordingly, the logic pointed to the expulsion of the Palestinians. It was when he was asked whether the world would ‘allow that kind of ethnic cleansing’ that van Creveld came up with the remark about most European capitals being ‘targets for our air force’.

So what was expressed in this interview was actually the apocalyptic despair. And this I think also largely accounts for -- though it cannot excuse -- the silly and vicious remarks about having the ‘capacity to take the world down with us’, and the assurance that that this ‘will happen, before Israel goes under’.

curious

Israel Air Force practicing MIG-29/F-16 dogfights

Israel Air Force test pilots are flying MIG 29 jets and conducting dogfights against the IAF's F-16 fighters, Channel 2 revealed Wednesday evening.The MIG 29, developed by the soviets in the 1970s, is one of the best fighter jets used by eastern and Arab countries, as well as by Syria and Iran.

http://theasiandefence.blogspot.com/2009/05/israel-air-force-practicing-mig-29f-16.html

U.S. blocking Israeli access to U.S.F-15SE fighter-jets

http://theasiandefence.blogspot.com/2009/05/us-blocking-israeli-access-to-usf-15se.html

Israel to launch F-16 fighter upgrade
(I guess now, Iran has to upgrade their radar. Thus the cold war between Israel and Iran has begun. Israel is going to need massive military budget increase in the coming year.)
http://theasiandefence.blogspot.com/2009/05/israel-to-launch-f-16-fighter-upgrade.html

side note. Korea is building their own 4.5G fighter to replace F-16. Which will be a major money maker if they can sell it cheap. (JSF export competitor.)

http://theasiandefence.blogspot.com/2009/05/s-korea-seeks-to-build-semi-stealth.html

Fred

David, thanks, I'll read this over the weekend.

curious

That Israel-Palestine negotiation start to look like basket case. Once congressional leader start going against it. I am declaring the current talk dead and we will enter previous cycle.


http://www.prospectsforpeace.com/2009/05/from_comfort_zone_to_decision.html

With renewed American interest in delivering a two-state reality, the leaderships in both Jerusalem and Ramallah appear to share one common goal: finding a comfort zone, a place where the peace process can continue ad infinitum, and hard decisions can be avoided.

Netanyahu's proposal for three negotiating tracks with the Palestinians (economic, security and political) fits neatly within that comfort zone. While a vigorous discussion with the Obama administration over settlements and mutual steps to be taken by Israel and the Arab states to advance the Arab peace initiative gradually might appear less convenient for Netanyahu, this, too, will have a comforting familiarity to it. It's easy to envisage endless months spent (wasted) on the sequencing of who goes first, on the scope of limitations for settlement expansion, and on the time-honored tradition of mutual recriminations and blame games.

Despite their desperate situation, such a reality has the quiet trappings of a comfort zone for the Palestinian Ramallah-based leadership, too. The bills are paid by donor countries, the political life-support tubes remain firmly attached. The PLO might even succeed in goading the U.S. into an occasional public spat with Israel. The Arab states can grandstand over the injustice of it all, while the resistance movements will decry the hypocrisy of the West and the impotence and complicity of the so-called moderate Arab regimes.

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