Tehran Terror Attack: Nuclear Scientist Assassinated by Motorcycle Bombers

Iran Blames Israel for Bombing Strike

by Jason Ditz,

The latest in a series of assassinations of top Tehran professors came today when nuclear scientists from Shahid Beheshti University were attacked by a group of bombers riding motorcycles.

The attackers surrounded the cars of the two scientists and bombed their vehicles, killing one and badly wounding the other. Both of their wives, also in the cars at the time, were also wounded.

The Iranian government was quick to blame Israel for the killings but so far the Israeli government, usually eager to take credit for terror attacks on foreign soil, have yet to confirm or deny this.

The slain scientist, Majid Shahriari, was confirmed by Iran’s atomic chief Ali-Akbar Salehi to be a former student of his, and the wounded scientist, Fereydoun Abbasi, has a PhD in nuclear physics and is a laser expert linked with Iran’s Defense Ministry.

Netanyahu: WikiLeaks revelations were good for Israel


For years he has warned of the dangers the Iranian nuclear program poses to the entire region. These warnings had been vindicated, Netanyahu said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says newly leaked U.S. diplomatic memos about the Saudi king offer clear proof that the Arab world agrees with his country’s assessment that Iran is the chief danger to the Middle East.

According to the documents released Sunday by online whistle-blower WikiLeaks, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia repeatedly urged the United States to attack Iran to destroy its nuclear program. The king is just one of many Arab voices in the documents calling for tough action against Iran – proof that Israel is not alone in its belief that Tehran is a growing menace to the region, Netanyahu said.

“The greatest threat to world peace stems from the arming of the regime in Iran,” Netanyahu told a news conference yesterday. “More and more states, governments and leaders in the Middle East and in far reaches of the world understand this is a fundamental threat.”

But for Israel, the outcome is positive, Netanyahu said. For years he has warned of the dangers the Iranian nuclear program poses to the entire region. These warnings had been vindicated, Netanyahu said.

“Our region has been hostage to a narrative that is the result of 60 years of propaganda, which paints Israel as the greatest threat,” Netanyahu said.

“In reality leaders understand that that view is bankrupt. For the first time in history there is agreement that Iran is the threat,” he added.

“If leaders start saying openly what they have long been saying behind closed doors, we can make a real breakthrough on the road to peace.”

Netanyahu added that Israel had worked in advance to limit any damage from leaks.

“Every Israeli leader has known for years that that dispatches are likely to leak out, so we adapted ourselves to the reality of leaks,” he said. “That has a bearing on who I invite to meetings. No classified Israeli material was exposed by WikiLeaks.”

Meanwhile, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said the latest U.S. documents on WikiLeaks are proof of the transparency of the Palestinian Authority.

The papers said Israel tried to coordinate with the PA regarding its Gaza offensive in the winter of 2008-09, telling the Palestinians to be ready to take over the enclave. The PA rejected the offer, said the documents.

Self-declared Israeli rabbi convicted of abusing eight children

The affair was uncovered two years ago, when one of the children was taken to the hospital unconscious. Once the story became public, Chen fled to Brazil, which extradited him back to Israel.

The Jerusalem District Court on Tuesday convicted a self-declared rabbi for abusing the eight children of the woman with whom he lived.

Last week, four of Rabbi Elior Chen’s followers were sentenced to lengthy prison on similar child abuse charges.

Alleged cult leader Elior Chen

Alleged cult leader Elior Chen in court.

Photo by: Daniel Bar-On

The child abuse affair was uncovered two years ago, when one of the children was taken to the hospital unconscious. Once the story became public, Chen fled to Brazil, which extradited him back to Israel.

Chen, who called himself a rabbi, told his disciples the abuse was necessary to “purify” the children, all members of one family. As a result, the children were severely beaten, burned, locked in suitcases and forced to eat their own feces, among other acts; one child remains in a coma to this day as a result.

In her ruling, Judge Nava Ben-Or called the case “incomprehensible,” adding that Israel has never before known anything like it.

For instance, Mascalchi, 25, was convicted of burning the fingers of one child, taping his mouth shut, stuffing him into a suitcase and leaving him there for some time. Kugman, 24, was convicted of tying up the children and then beating them. He also held one child to an electric heater, causing burns so severe that the child needed a skin transplant.

Two of the four defendants sentenced earlier this week denied all the charges against them. The other two admitted to some, but claimed that they were helpless under Chen’s “magical” influence.

The mother of the eight children, who remains unnamed, was sentenced in May to five years in prison after pleading guilty to shaking, burning and tying up her children.

Barak: WikiLeaks has changed face of world diplomacy

Defense Minister says Israel emerged from fiasco unscathed, but adds that diplomats the world over will now have to be more cautious.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak -  Ofer Vaknin

Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

Photo by: Ofer Vaknin

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Tuesday that the classified cables revealed by WikiLeaks had not damaged Israel but would surely change the face of global diplomacy.

“Diplomacy will look different today. People, diplomats in every corner of the world, will be much more cautious when they speak, and not just with the Americans,” Barak said while touring an industrial military factory in central Israel. “It will shake the diplomatic conversation.”

“But with regard to Israel, I don’t think any damage has been done,” Barak added. “There is no great difference between what has been read in WikiLeaks and what is heard in our deep briefings.”

The defense minister added that the leaked documents “revealed interesting things pertaining to the stance of the entire Arab world” with regard to Iran’s nuclear program, and gave a glimpse into global “information from behind closed doors.”

After the online whistleblower began publishing the cables on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said some of the secret diplomatic memos were beneficial for Israel, particularly those offering clear proof that the Arab world agrees with his country’s assessment that Iran is the chief danger to the Middle East.

According to the documents released by WikiLeaks, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia repeatedly urged the United States to attack Iran to destroy its nuclear program. The king is just one of many Arab voices in the documents calling for tough action against Iran – proof that Israel is not alone in its belief that Tehran is a growing menace to the region, Netanyahu said.

“The greatest threat to world peace stems from the arming of the regime in Iran,” Netanyahu told a news conference Monday. “More and more states, governments and leaders in the Middle East and in far reaches of the world understand this is a fundamental threat.”

But for Israel, the outcome is positive, Netanyahu said. For years he has warned of the dangers the Iranian nuclear program poses to the entire region. These warnings had been vindicated, Netanyahu said.

“Our region has been hostage to a narrative that is the result of 60 years of propaganda, which paints Israel as the greatest threat,” Netanyahu said.
“In reality leaders understand that that view is bankrupt. For the first time in history there is agreement that Iran is the threat,” he added.

“If leaders start saying openly what they have long been saying behind closed doors, we can make a real breakthrough on the road to peace.”
Netanyahu added that Israel had worked in advance to limit any damage from leaks.

“Every Israeli leader has known for years that that dispatches are likely to leak out, so we adapted ourselves to the reality of leaks,” he said. “That has a bearing on who I invite to meetings. No classified Israeli material was exposed by WikiLeaks.”

Poll: Most Israeli Jews believe Arab citizens should have no say in foreign policy

Israel Democratic Institute conducts study on democracy, concludes that more than half Israelis say Arabs should be encouraged to emigrate.

Approximately 86 percent of Israeli Jews believe any final Knesset decision regarding the country’s future political arrangement must be approved by a Jewish majority, according to a poll released Tuesday by the Israel Democratic Institute.

More than 62 percent of Israeli Jewish respondents also said that as long as conflict with the Palestinians continued, the state should not take into account Israeli Arab opinions regarding foreign policy.

Protesters demand the release of Arab-Israeli activist Amir Makhoul, Haifa, May 10, 2010

Protesters demand the release of Arab-Israeli activist Amir Makhoul, Haifa, May 10, 2010

Photo by: Tomer Neuberg

The study also found that 53 percent of Israeli Jews believe the state has the right to encourage Arab citizens to emigrate, while 55 percent said Jewish cities should receive more government resources than Arab communities.

Another 51 percent of those polled said that Israeli Arabs and Jews should have equal rights.

Some 54 percent of Israelis said they believed legal action should not be taken against citizens who speak up against the state. Another 50 percent supported the claim that anti-Zionist parties should be allowed to run for the Knesset.

The study also revealed that almost half of the Jewish Israelis polled would be bothered to have an Arab neighbor. That topic also found that 39 percent considered patients in mental institutions and foreign workers to be the most disruptive kind of neighbor; 25 percent said living next to a homosexual couple was the most disruptive; 23 percent said ultra-Orthodox neighbors bothered them most; and 17 percent would rather not live next to Ethiopian immigrants.

The study found a high correlation between the level of religious observance and the belief that Arabs should have different rights. The study indicated that the Russian immigrants were the least liberal population in the country.

Israeli Arab respondents expressed less tolerance for foreign neighbors; 70 percent of whom said they would rather not live beside a homosexual couple, while 67 percent said they would rather not live next to Haredi families.

The study revealed, however, that 48 percent of Israeli Arab were tolerant of living beside foreign workers.

The study was conducted by six researchers and compiled its answers from public opinion polls that questioned more than 1,203 people.

U.S. State Department: Israel is not a tolerant society


Report claims Israel discriminates against Muslims, Reform Jews, Christians, women and Bedouin.

(Haaretz) Israel dismally fails the requirements of a tolerant pluralistic society, according to a new report from the U.S. State Department.

Despite boasting religious freedom and protection of all holy sites, Israel falls short in tolerance toward minorities, equal treatment of ethnic groups, openness toward various streams within society, and respect for holy and other sites.

The comprehensive report, written by the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, says Israel discriminates against groups including Muslims, Jehova’s Witnesses, Reform Jews, Christians, women and Bedouin.

The report says that the 1967 law on the protection of holy places refers to all religious groups in the country, including in Jerusalem, but “the government implements regulations only for Jewish sites. Non-Jewish holy sites do not enjoy legal protection under it because the government does not recognize them as official holy sites.”

At the end of 2008, for example, all of the 137 officially recognized holy sites were Jewish. Moreover, Israel issued regulations for the identification, preservation and guarding of Jewish sites only. Many Christian and Muslim sites are said to be neglected, inaccessible or at risk of exploitation by real estate entrepreneurs and local authorities.

The report makes it clear that practices that have become routine in Israel are considered unacceptable in enlightened countries and should be corrected.

Among other examples, the report notes that more than 300,000 immigrants who are not considered Jewish under rabbinical law are not allowed to marry and divorce in Israel or be buried in Jewish cemeteries.

Israel names Iran expert as new Mossad chief



By Sheera Frenkel | McClatchy Newspapers

JERUSALEM — Israel on Monday named a veteran spy to head Mossad, a sign that the country’s main espionage agency will continue to be active and aggressive and that Iran will remain at the top of the Israeli foreign policy agenda.

Tamir Pardo, who’s to succeed current director Meir Dagan at the end of the year, pending approval by a panel of judges, “is the right man to usher the organization through the coming years in the face of complicated challenges,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In his eight years in office, Dagan is said to have revolutionized the Mossad, put top priority on Iran and pressed for expanded operations oversees. His name appears in several of the cables divulged by the Wikileaks Website Sunday, in which he warns U.S. officials of Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

Pardo earlier had served as Dagan’s deputy, and his policy views are said to be closely linked to Dagan’s.

Israel’s efforts stop Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program — a topic that was widely covered in the U.S. cables — will be among his top challenges.

A series of cables through 2008-2009 show U.S. diplomats and Israeli leaders pleaded with Russia not to sell Iran powerful S-300 anti-aircraft missiles capable of shooting down aircraft more than 120 miles away. In one February 2010 cable, a quid pro quo deal is suggested by which Israel would increase its arms deals with Georgia — with which Russia fought a 2008 war — unless Russia canceled the S-300 deal. Israel also offered to provide Russia with a number of weapons systems and unmanned aerial aircraft.

By September 2010, the diplomacy appeared to have succeeded. Russia announced the cancellation of an agreement to sell Iran the missiles.

Iran has accused Russia of thwarting the missile sale because of U.S. and Israeli pressure, but the cables now provide new evidence for its claim.

The cables also reveal a number of Arab states, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan, urging the United States to act against Iran. Those states have publically condemned Israel on numerous occasions but have never spoken openly against Iran.

Only a handful of cables have been released of the more than 250,000 that Wikileaks said it would reveal on its Website. Israeli leaders, however, said that the information in the cables supports what Israel has been arguing for years — namely that a nuclear Iran would threaten the entire Middle East.

So far, none of the cables discussed undercover operations that Israel is suspected to have carried out against Iranian targets.

On Monday, Iran accused Israel of attacking two nuclear scientists in Tehran. Security experts in Israel said that Iran could be behind the attacks if the scientists had been considering defecting.

Iran also has accused Mossad of assassinating several Arab figures, including the January 2010 death of Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in a Dubai hotel.

Dubai police published photographs and passport details of dozens of people it said were behind that assassination, many of whom were traced back to Israel.

Though Israel never admitted its involvement in Mabhouh’s death, the incident was considered embarrassing for Mossad chief Dagan.

Several Israeli newspapers suggested that it could prompt Netanyahu to choose a new Mossad head from outside the organization. But the announcement Monday of Pardo’s succession confirmed that Netanyahu wanted to continue Dagan’s policies.

When Dagan was first named to his post, former prime minister Ariel Sharon said the Mossad should regain its “allure” in the Middle East. Dagan has been called a “determined street fighter” who re-energized the Mossad and doubled its budget.

Pardo served briefly as Dagan’s deputy but quit the Mossad last year because of frustration with Dagan’s unwillingness to groom him as a successor.

Israeli analysts noted that Pardo is close to the Netanyahu family. He served in an elite army commando unit with Netanyahu’s brother, Yonatan, during the famed raid on Uganda’s Entebbe airport in 1976. Yonatan died on the mission to free passengers of a hijacked Air France jet.

Pardo is briefly mentioned in the book written by Ido Netanyahu, the youngest brother in the Netanyahu family.

Pardo beat out several other high-profile candidates, including Yuval Diskin, head of the Shin Bet, and Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin, who resigned last week as head of military intelligence.

WikiLeaks: US official compiled dossiers on politicians’ private lives

American officials compile detailed dossiers about leading politicians including their private lives, leaked cables show.


Alan Duncan was the subject of detailed cables sent by US intelligence officials.


Alan Duncan,  subject of detailed cables sent by US intelligence officials.


“Embassy staff note everything about MPs from allegations of affairs to how their parents have influenced their characters…”

Just before the general election, intelligence analysts drew up “products on the Conservative leadership” including their relationships for the benefit of “senior policymakers”.

In one particularly personal memo, a former Labour minister was branded “a bit of a hound dog where women are concerned”.

A confidential communiqué sent from the US Embassy in London to Washington DC told how the senior politician was “forced to apologize… to a female… who accused him of sexual harassment… and has had marital troubles in the last few years”.

It claimed that the minister had “manic depressive tendencies” and had been described as a “bully” by at least one colleague.

The gossipy memo was apparently gratefully received by intelligence chiefs, who replied: “Washington analysts appreciate the excellent background and biographical reporting.”

The material about “bullying, possible depression and scandals, as well as comments on the state of his marriage” was seen as “particularly insightful and timely”.

The “hound dog” minister who chased women has not been named by WikiLeaks, the website that has obtained 250,000 messages sent by US diplomatic and intelligence officials, or the newspapers that have seen the unedited cables.

His identity was the subject of much discussion online, with several names emerging as likely candidates according to bloggers and Twitter users.

Earlier this year American spies were highly interested in Alan Duncan, then shadow prisons minister, and his friendship with William Hague, at the time the shadow foreign secretary, with whom he once shared a London flat.

A cable from the US head of intelligence operations called for more information on Mr Duncan, a former oil trader, and his “relationship with David Cameron and William Hague”.

Elizabeth Pitterle, head of intelligence operations, said the information previously sent on Mr Duncan, who is in a civil partnership, and Mr Hague, who recently publicly denied internet rumours about his sexuality, was “exceptionally well timed”.

“Analysts are preparing finished products on the Conservative leadership for senior policymakers,” she wrote in January, suggesting that many more Tory politicians were being studied ahead of the election that would see them take power.

German politicians also came in for detailed scrutiny according to selected cables that have been published by WikiLeaks so far, particularly the foreign minister.

The embassy in Berlin sent a cable in September 2008 titled “The world according to Guido Westerwelle” that covered everything from his “craving” for political power to his upbringing and the fact that he is “openly gay”.

It stated: “Family members note that Westerwelle inherited the unbridled, aggressive temperament of his father and the calculated, deliberate, and hesitant cleverness of his mother.

“Westerwelle enjoys horses and to this day he is an avid equestrian.”


Washington Insiders Fret Over WikiLeaks Dump

by Jim Lobe,

While the massive dump of some 250,000 internal U.S. diplomatic communications by WikiLeaks includes none marked “top secret,” their dissemination is already causing considerable embarrassment and may well inflict longer-term damage on Washington’s foreign relations.

Most analysts said the initial exposure of nearly 250 of the documents – or only about one-thousandth of the total cache – contained no major surprises for those who follow U.S. foreign policy closely.

“Much of what we have seen thus far confirms more than it informs,” wrote Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and a former senior diplomat in the two Bush administrations, on CFR’s Web site Monday.

“We are not surprised to read U.S. diplomatic cables reporting that corruption in Afghanistan is rampant; that prominent Sunni Arab leaders are more worried about Iran and its nuclear program than they are about Israel; that it has been difficult to get other governments to accept Guantanamo detainees; that Syria’s government maintains close ties to Hezbollah despite assurances to the contrary; or that Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is a man of questionable character,” he wrote.

Haass’s colleague, CFR Vice President James Lindsay, noted that U.S. citizens could take some comfort from the revelation in many of the cables that Washington’s private messages to foreign leaders were generally not so different from its public statements.

“We now have proof that in many instances U.S. diplomats said the same things in private that they have said in public,” he wrote in an online chat hosted by the Washington Post Monday afternoon. He conceded, however, that some of the cables will undoubtedly cause “heartburn” in Washington.

Among these, most significantly, were the disclosure that Washington has secretly tried – so far without apparent success – to persuade the Pakistani government to move some of its fissile material from the country; an admission by Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh in January this year that he had just lied to parliament that his forces had conducted strikes against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula when, in fact, they were undertaken by U.S.-controlled pilotless aircraft; and serial complaints about Qatar’s alleged failure to cooperate in U.S. counterterrorism efforts.

In addition, the disclosures that have received the most attention in media – that a number of senior Sunni Arab leaders, among them Saudi King Abdullah, reportedly have appealed privately to their U.S. interlocutors at various times in recent years for military strikes, if necessary, against Iran to prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon – are likely to cause serious embarrassment to their regimes, which have publicly warned against any move that could lead to war.

The contradiction between these leaders’ private and public stances could provoke considerable consternation – and perhaps more – across the Arab world. According to the latest edition of the 10-year-old Arab Public Opinion poll published in August, nearly four in five respondents said they supported Iran’s right to pursue its nuclear program, and nearly six in 10 said they believed Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons could lead to a “more positive” outcome in the Middle East.

The survey covered Egypt, Morocco, and Jordan, the three countries where support for Iran’s program was highest, as well as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where support was lower.

“Will this great transgression of the private/public divide in Arab politics create a moment of reckoning in which the Arab public finally asserts itself?” asked Marc Lynch, a Middle East expert at George Washington University, in his blog on Monday. “Or will it be one in which Arab leaders finally stop deferring to Arab public opinion and start acting out on their private beliefs?”

“Thus far, most of the mainstream Arab media seems to be either ignoring the WikiLeaks revelations or else reporting it in generalities, i.e., reporting that it’s happening but not the details in the cables,” he went on. “I imagine there are some pretty tense scenes in Arab newsrooms right now, as they try to figure out how to cover the news within their political constraints.”

In the meantime, the leaks themselves are likely to make communication between U.S. diplomats and Arab leaders considerably more difficult, according to retired ambassador Charles Freeman Jr., who represented Washington in Riyadh during the 1991 Gulf War.

“It will be a long time before anyone in the region will speak candidly to an American official. If you cannot speak in confidence with someone, you will not speak to them,” he told IPS, adding that the exposure of the apparent hypocrisy among Arab leaders could well enhance Iran’s position and prestige there.

Indeed, circumspection in communications with U.S. diplomats is likely to become the norm in many of the world’s capitals, at least in the short term, according to most observers, who pointed out that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s announcement that she has directed that strong measures be taken “so this kind of breach does not ever happen again” is unlikely to reassure many of its interlocutors.

That will also likely be particularly true in light of yet another damaging disclosure contained in the documents: that State Department officials have been under orders since 2008 to gather credit-card, frequent-flier, telephone numbers, and other personal information regarding foreign and United Nations officials – a task normally reserved for the intelligence community.

CFR’s Haass suggested the loss of confidence that Washington can protect its secrets could in fact be among the most damaging of the “longer-term” consequences of the latest WikiLeaks dump.

“Foreign governments may think twice before sharing their secrets or even their candid judgments with American counterparts lest they read about them on the Internet. And American diplomats may be less willing to commit their thoughts to paper. Such reticence will deprive policymakers of an important source of information and make decision-making more ad hoc and less systematic than it needs to be,” he observed.

Hawks Claim Vindication over WikiLeaks Cables

Docs Detail Hawks’ Hostility Toward Iran

by Jason Ditz,

In a bizarre example of self-justification, a number of anti-Iran hawks are citing the WikiLeaks cables are vindication for their hostility toward Iran, purely on the basis of the documents repeating their own hostility toward the nation.

Somehow, the fact that the documents rehashed the long-standing Israeli calls to attack Iran made Israeli officials feel vindicated in those calls, and the fact that the Saudi King was making similar calls (for largely a different reason) may be interesting, but provides no proof that the threats were any wiser.

In fact, other documents on the Saudi government’s position suggest that, far from actually being concerned about Iran as a prospective nuclear power, the Saudis were more concerned that the US occupation of Iraq had turned the nation over to Shi’ite control and given the Shi’ite Iranians newfound power in the region. The Saudi King’s calls for attack seem to have been a pretty cynical attempt to strengthen the Sunni position in the region.

And though a number of the documents center around Iran’s nuclear program, none of them ever touches on or even implies the existence of any evidence that the program is military in nature. Indeed, their answer to public questions about the allegation by Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan was to warn his aides that he’d better stop asking such uncomfortable questions.

In the end it seems far from vindicating the hawks, the cables just name them, and far from making a good case for a war against Iran, they reveal US hostility over the idea that such a war might not be universally supported.

UN Chief to US: Don’t Steal My Credit Card


UN to Remind Obama Stealing Info Is a Crime

by Jason Ditz,

As the White House rails against WikiLeaks for releasing a cache of classified State Department documents, insisting that the “stealing” of the classified data is a crime, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is said to be planning to remind the president to practice what he preaches.

That is because one of the first leaks to come out of the data was a document signed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ordering State Department officials at a number of embassies to steal the credit card numbersand other personal data of members of the UN Security Council, including Ban.

According to one of Ban’s spokesman, Farhan Haq, the Secretary-General intends to press the US on the plot “on various levels.” Haq reminded people in his comments that the 1946 UN convention on privileges makes attempting to steal the data sought by Secretary Clinton is itself a serious crime under international law.

The release of WikiLeaks data includes less than one tenth of one percent of the overall data the organization claims to have, but the release has already uncovered at least this one serious crime. So far US officials are trying to deflect the charges by making a big deal of WikiLeaks, but it seems inevitable that Secretary Clinton and others will be brought to account for their crimes, particularly when those crimes are being committed against other top officials.

Exclusive: Leaked cable reveals US-Israeli strategy for regime change in Iran

Wiki-leak confirms reporting by veteran journalist Seymour Hersh

By Larisa Alexandrovna and Muriel Kane

( iranusflags Exclusive: Leaked cable reveals US Israeli strategy for regime change in IranAccording to a diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks, in August 2007 the head of Israel’s intelligence agency urged US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, R. Nicholas Burns, to join with Israel in carrying out a five-part strategy to implement regime change in Iran.

Mossad Director Meir Dagan acknowledged at the meeting that the American analysis of Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program was different from Israel’s, but he insisted that the threat from Iran was “obvious” and stated that Israel was willing to take action unilaterally.

rsilogo Exclusive: Leaked cable reveals US Israeli strategy for regime change in IranThe classified diplomatic cable outlining the meeting is part of a large cache of documents leaked to the whistleblower website Wikileaks, and released to the public on Sunday via several international newspapers, including The Guardian and The New York Times.

Dagan began the meeting by thanking the US for its support of Israel, as well as for a recent $30 billion aid package.

The Mossad chief then conceded that US analysis of Iran’s alleged nuclear capabilities differed from Israel’s, but remarked that such differences were essentially irrelevant and that if need be Israel would take action alone.

“The threat is obvious, even if we have a different timetable,” he said. “If we want to postpone their acquisition of a nuclear capability, then we have to invest time and effort ourselves.”

Philip Giraldi, a former counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer and the Central Intelligence Agency, who served for eighteen years in Turkey, believes Dagan’s comment that Israel will have to “invest time and effort ourselves” in dealing with Iran was, in essence, a veiled threat.

“It is essentially setting up a situation in which the threat of Israel acting alone becomes a wedge issue to force the US to do something so that it will be able to manage the situation rather than respond to Israeli initiatives,” Giraldi told Raw Story on Sunday. ”It pushes Washington into planning a military strike to force the Israelis to stand down on their own plans.”

The differences between how each nation viewed the Iranian nuclear program were not discussed by either the US or Israeli officials in the cable.

R. Nicholas Burns, the U.S. envoy at the meeting — who is now the Sultan of Oman Professor of the Practice of International Relations at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government – did not respond to requests for comment.

The Israeli embassy also did not respond to request for comment.

The Five Pillars of Israeli Strategy

According to the cable, Dagan continued the meeting by enumerating Israel’s “five pillar” strategy on Iran, which he urged that the US and Israel both implement:

1. Political Approach
2. Covert Measures
3. Counterprolifiration
4. Sanctions
5. Force Regime Change

Each of the so-called pillars is briefly summarized in the cable.

The political approach advocated by Dagan involved continued pressure from the United Nations Security Council to force Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions.

The covert pillar of the Israeli strategy was not discussed by Dagan or other Israeli envoys, nor does the classified cable elaborate on the particulars.

The counterproliferation part of the Israeli plans emphasize that Iran must be prevented from obtaining nuclear “know-how and technology.”

Dagan noted that the economic sanctions pillar of the strategy was already working, citing the failure of three Iranian banks.

Finally, Dagan suggested that the U.S and Israel should both help “force regime change” in Iran by proxy, “possibly with the support of student democracy movements, and ethnic groups (e.g., Azeris, Kurds, Baluchs) opposed to the ruling regime.”

It is unclear from the cable just exactly what “support” of “ethnic groups” meant or whether Dagan offered any suggestions.

Robert Baer — a former Central Intelligence Agency officer who spent his career stationed in the Middle East, including in Iraqi Kurdistan and on whom the Academy Award winning movie Syriana is based — interprets Dagan’s suggestion as a violent one.

When asked what he thought forced regime change meant in this context with respect to support for the Azeris, Kurds, and Baluchs, Baer told Raw Story, “it means give them money so they can set off bombs – the Mad Max approach.”

Dagan suggested that all five pillars be enacted simultaneously, including regime change, implying there was no need to allow time for the other pillars to work, including economic sanctions and political pressure. This would have put the U.S in a difficult position, given its history in Iran.

Events leading up to and after the meeting

According to published sources, both the United States and Israel have been active in attempts to spy on Iran’s nuclear program and destabilize its government since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, and those efforts intensified as concern over Iran’s nuclear program mounted in late 2005.

Seymour Hersh wrote for the New Yorker In April 2006 that the previous December, Mossad Director Dagan had told the Knesset, “Iran is one to two years away, at the latest, from having enriched uranium. From that point, the completion of their nuclear weapon is simply a technical matter.”

Over the next few months, Under Secretary Burns was active in diplomatic approaches to dealing with Iran. By the end of January 2006, he and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had convinced Russia and China to vote for the International Atomic Energy Agency to report Iran to the Security Council.

But in March, the Bush administration decided against direct talks with the Iranians and the State Department announced “that a newly established Office of Iranian Affairs within the department would focus on introducing democracy in Iran.” Burns, Rice, and Elizabeth Cheney –daughter of then Vice President Dick Cheney — were all said to be behind the new policy.

A few weeks later, Hersh noted that “the Bush Administration, while publicly advocating diplomacy in order to stop Iran from pursuing a nuclear weapon, has increased clandestine activities inside Iran and intensified planning for a possible major air attack. Current and former American military and intelligence officials said that Air Force planning groups are drawing up lists of targets, and teams of American combat troops have been ordered into Iran, under cover, to collect targeting data and to establish contact with anti-government ethnic-minority groups.”

Those clandestine efforts continued over the next year, amid widespread reports that the CIA was behind “a wave of unrest in ethnic minority border areas of Iran, with bombing and assassination campaigns against soldiers and government officials.”

In the spring of 2007, there were signs of an apparent softening of policy towards Iran, including thedisbanding of Liz Cheney’s Iran Syria Policy and Operations Group, which had been seen as “plotting covert actions that could escalate into a military conflict with Iran or Syria.”

Any softening, however, was short-lived. On July 21, 2007, Burns and Deputy National Security Advisor Elliott Abrams met with representatives of Iranian ethnic groups in the US to discuss (pdf) Iran’s nuclear policies. And in August, Burns joined the Israeli foreign minister in Jerusalem to sign a new military aid package amounting to $30 billion over ten years — an increase of 25% from previous levels.

That was the immediate background for Burns’ meeting with Dagan, as described in the newly-released cable.

Within a few months, the Bush administration had decided to intensify its covert actions against Iran.

According to Hersh, in late 2007, “Congress agreed to a request from President Bush to fund a major escalation of covert operations against Iran, according to current and former military, intelligence, and congressional sources. These operations, for which the President sought up to four hundred million dollars, were described in a Presidential Finding signed by Bush, and are designed to destabilize the country’s religious leadership. The covert activities involve support of the minority Ahwazi Arab and Baluchi groups and other dissident organizations. They also include gathering intelligence about Iran’s suspected nuclear-weapons program.”

This is precisely the approach Dagan and Burns discussed at August 2007 meeting, as described in the leaked cable.

Clinton: WikiLeaks Revelations ‘An Attack on the World’

Officials Rail At ‘Serious Crime’ of Unveiling Other Serious Crimes

by Jason Ditz,

The truth about the unseemly way in which the US State Department has been behaving should not have gone public, insists Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who today called the revelation of these facts “an attack on the international community.”

The Obama Administration has expressed outrage at what amounts to the revelation of a growing number of crimes committed under their watch (and often on their direct orders), with White House spokesman Robert Gibbs calling the leaks a serious crime.

Of course, the Supreme Court has already ruled that classified documents can be published by the press, and while the original leaker himself, apparently Pfc Bradley Manning, may well be liable for prosecution under the Military Code of Justice, his crime certainly pales in comparison to those the documents detail.

One of the documents, for instance, was signed by Secretary Clinton, and ordered officials at dozens of US embassies to attempt to steal personal data, including credit card information, from a number of top UN officials. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is said to be extremely concerned that the US attempted to steal his credit card, and likely much less concerned that someone revealed the attempted theft.

Wikileaks – The Tel Aviv Connection


By Jeff Gates,

What is Tel Aviv to do now that it’s known Israelis and pro-Israelis ‘fixed’ the intelligence that induced the U.S. to war in Iraq?

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Con me consistently for six decades and the relationship is over, as is Israel’s credibility as a legitimate nation state.

Tel Aviv knows this. But what can the Zionist state do about it? Answer: Wikileaks.

Why now? Misdirection. Shine the spotlight on Washington to take it off Tel Aviv. That’s good old-fashioned psy-ops.  And challenge the credibility of the U.S. That’s Wikileaks.

Any credible forensics would start by asking: to whose benefit? Then look to means, motive and opportunity plus the presence of stable nation-state intelligence inside the U.S.

Other than Israel, who else is a credible candidate? Notice how quickly Israel’s role in the peace process vanished from the news. Now it’s Iran, Iran and more Iran. To whose benefit?

Tel Aviv knows that the phony intelligence on Iraq leads to those skilled at waging war “by way of deception”—the motto of the Israeli Mossad. Wikileaks are noteworthy for what’s missing: the absence of any material damaging to Israeli goals.

But still Tel Aviv faces an unprecedented peril: transparency. Americans know they were duped. And Israel rightly fears that Americans will soon realize by whom.

Tepid Support will not Suffice

Obama has behaved as anticipated by those who produced his presidency. Anyone surprised at the lack of change in U.S. policy in the Middle East fails to grasp the power of the Israel lobby.

Did he hesitate to support their latest Israeli strategy for scuttling peace negotiations? Absent peace, the U.S. will continue to be the target of those outraged at America’s unflinching support for Israel’s thuggish behavior in pursuit of its expansionist goals.

Confirming the lobby’s influence, Netanyahu announced he would not agree to halt settlements on Palestinian land until Obama reduced to writing a $3 billion bribe.

In return for a proposed 90-day freeze, what form of bribe will America provide? Twenty F-35 jets at $150 million each plus parts, maintenance, training and armaments. 

That’s $231 million per week or $1,373,626 per hour. What will the U.S. receive in return? A temporary partial freeze on settlements. How many more times can this ruse work? 

Israel has evaded a peace agreement since it drove Palestinians from their land in 1948 and seized more land in 1967 to shape today’s geopolitics. 

Should Israel reach an agreement with the Palestinians, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton proposes a “comprehensive security agreement.” At what cost no one knows. The U.S. Congress has already budgeted $30 billion for Israel over 10 years. This latest $3 billion is on top of that. 

That doesn’t include the cost to American credibility posed by an offer to veto U.N. recognition of Palestine as a state. And a pledge Never Again to pressure Israel on settlements. Plus the freeze omits East Jerusalem where Tel Aviv insists on moving ahead with new housing starts.

Timing Is Everything

By scheduling its latest incursion into Gaza between Christmas 2008 and the January 2009 Obama inaugural, Tel Aviv ensured only muted opposition during political down time in the U.S. Thus it came as no surprise to see an agent provocateur operation on Thanksgiving Day 2010 as Israel demolished a West Bank Mosque and a Palestinian village.  

After seven hours of nonstop talks, Hillary Clinton praised Netanyahu as a “peacemaker.” In return, he agreed only to “continue the process.” Meanwhile, U.S. elections marked a major victory for Israel when incoming Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor, a Jewish Zionist, announced that the new majority would “serve as a check on the Obama administration.”

The Israel lobby has good reason to gloat. Confirming ongoing duplicity, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman proclaimed: “a permanent agreement is impossible.”

Wikileaks’ release of confidential diplomatic cables provides Israel an opportunity to undermine U.S. relations worldwide while also inflicting lasting damage on U.S. interests in the Middle East. After this, what nation would trust the U.S. to maintain a confidence?

In October, Turkey asked that the U.S. not share intelligence with Israel. Now who dares share intelligence with the U.S.?

This may signal the beginning of the end for the Obama presidency his domestic policy failures are eclipsed by his failures in foreign policy.

This may also signal pre-staging for the 2012 presidential primary with a weakened Obama forced to name Clinton as his running mate or stepping aside so she can lead the ballot.

Her 2008 presidential campaign promised recognition of Israel as a “Jewish state” and promised an “undivided Jerusalem as the capital.” Tel Aviv was elated. A second Clinton presidency would ensure another victory for Israel—and no peace.

Israeli psy-ops typically serve multiple purposes. Wikileaks is no exception. 

Jeff Gates is author of Guilt By Association—How Deception and Self-Deceit Took America to War.


Yossi Melman: Mossad, MI6, the CIA and the case of the assassinated scientist

Three events – not seemingly related – took place yesterday. The leaking of State Department documents, many of which deal with the world’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear programme; the mysterious assassination in Tehran of a top Iranian nuclear scientist and the wounding of another, and the appointment of Tamir Pardo as the new head of Mossad, Israel’s foreign espionage agency.

But there’s a link between them. They are part of the endless efforts by the Israeli intelligence community, together with its Western counterparts including Britain’s MI6 and America’s CIA, to sabotage, delay and if possible, to stop Iran from reaching its goal of having its first nuclear bomb.

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The attack on the two scientists, one of them mentioned as a top nuclear scientist working with Iran’s Ministry of Defence, was part of these efforts. No organisation claimed responsibility but it is obvious, not just because of accusations by Iranian officials and Iran’s media, that Israel was behind it. Most experts who follow Middle East politics and Mossad history would agree.

It is at least the fourth attempt to assassinate Iranian scientists linked with the country’s nuclear programme in four years. There were probably other attempts which did not hit the headlines. The attribution to Mossad is not because of the use of motorcycles, though in the past Mossad has been involved in similar operations. The best known one was in 1995 in Valletta, Malta, when a Mossad hit-team liquidated Dr Fathi Shkaki, the leader of the Islamic Jihad.

It has more to do with the policy of Mossad to deal a blow to Iran’s nuclear programme. On top of assassinating nuclear scientists to terrorise others and force some to quit, it is believed that Mossad was also behind penetrating Iranian purchasing networks and selling them flawed equipment of its nuclear enrichment centrifuges and most recently by planting a virus which has damaged the nuclear computers at Natanz.

Yet despite these daring ploys, it is obvious to Israeli decision-makers as well as to western leaders that if a country is determined enough to develop nuclear weapons nothing would stop it.


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