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of course the people don't want war
September 1, 2008 4:24 PM   Subscribe

Welcome to the October Surprise. The Dutch intelligence service, the AIVD, has called off an operation aimed at infiltrating and sabotaging Iran's weapons industry due to an assessment that a US attack on the Islamic Republic's nuclear program is imminent, according to a report in the country's De Telegraaf (dutch) newspaper on Friday.
posted by plexi (66 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
17th time's a charm.
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:36 PM on September 1, 2008 [4 favorites]


My ex gave me an October Surprise once. My eyes watered for an hour.
posted by turgid dahlia at 4:36 PM on September 1, 2008 [6 favorites]


Hopefully, we won't first have two more pregnancies hurricanes to weather.
posted by hal9k at 4:43 PM on September 1, 2008


17th time's a charm.

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty, drjimmy11. If we have to hounddog these war-loving bastards every day until January 9, well, that's what we'll have to do.
posted by John of Michigan at 4:46 PM on September 1, 2008 [7 favorites]


I gotta believe that even the neoest neo-con isn't dumb enough to risk the utter disaster that war with Iran would be. First of all, attacking Iran means bringing back the draft - there's no way around that. We're out of Army. Can you think of a more lethal political poison that conscription? Second, that whole Strait of Hormuz thing is no joke - Iran could deal us a lot of damage w/ very little risk or investment just by throttling that vital shipping lane. Third, such an attack would be the last straw for our strained alliances. Plenty of countries would be pissed the hell off by another U.S. imperial action, and Russia's at the top of that list.

Fourth, this would be a terrible way to try winning an election. I can't believe that this country would accept the opening of a third war while we're still struggling to win two others. Attacking Iran would be such a cock-up, we might just lose every war we're fighting.
posted by EatTheWeak at 4:50 PM on September 1, 2008 [7 favorites]


From the last two paragraphs in the first link:
On Friday, Ma'ariv reported that Israel had made a strategic decision to deny Iran military nuclear capability and would not hesitate "to take whatever means necessary" to prevent Teheran from achieving its nuclear goals.

According to the report, whether the United States and Western countries succeed in thwarting the Islamic Republic's nuclear ambitions diplomatically, through sanctions, or whether a US strike on Iran is eventually decided upon, Jerusalem has begun preparing for a separate, independent military strike.
Bury the lede much?

So, is this going unreported by US media because it's not credible, or because we've had so much more pressing matters to focus on this weekend?
posted by enn at 4:53 PM on September 1, 2008


Seems like Blackwater better start throwing some job fairs. I don't think they have enough mercenaries to sustain three wars and enforce martial law here.
posted by Mr_Zero at 4:53 PM on September 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


I'm waiting for the firmament to crack open and suck the right people into the pits of hell.

Any minute... any minute now.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 4:56 PM on September 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


This is pretty weak.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:57 PM on September 1, 2008


Dude, Sarah Palin was the October Surprise. She just arrived premature.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:00 PM on September 1, 2008 [6 favorites]


Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty, drjimmy11.

Haha, yeah, we defend liberty and preserve the republic by making a bunch of these thin, duplicative posts.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 5:03 PM on September 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


Russia, Georgia . . . and Iran
posted by homunculus at 5:14 PM on September 1, 2008


The impending air-strike on Iran was to be carried out by unmanned aircraft

This is where weak sauce falls flat -- sheer ignorance of the kinds of details that can actually vault a story from "bullshit" to "hmm..." If they only had just a little more oomph to the silliness...

See, Predator drones are great at carrying 1-2 Hellfire missiles each, which are pretty good at blowing up cars and unarmored vehicles. But they're useless at striking, say, the reinforced concrete of a nuclear weapons facility. And there are no other militarily operational unmanned aircraft that carry weapons.

Unless, of course, you're thinking of this bad boy right here. And if you are, you're in the same world as this report. That is to say, fiction.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:14 PM on September 1, 2008


so, why were the dutch doing this to begin with? why have they taken it upon themselves to put one, count him, one lousy agent to sabotage iran's nuclear program and then withdrawn him because the u s is bombing anyway? it was important enough for them to take a risk like that instead of leaving it to the u s, but it's not important enough to use more than one guy?

this just doesn't make sense
posted by pyramid termite at 5:25 PM on September 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


The impending air-strike on Iran was to be carried out by unmanned aircraft

Cruise missiles?
posted by Brian B. at 5:28 PM on September 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


Going through Google News, I'm not seeing a lot of activity on this at all - about half of those reporting on this are Israeli sources or citing them. Not even a brief statement of refutation from the White House? This is a pretty serious claim. Why has no one responded to it yet?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:35 PM on September 1, 2008


So, wait -- the Dutch were going to start a covert war with Iran?
posted by Dave Faris at 5:37 PM on September 1, 2008


Highlighting, again, the fact that everyone believes that various nations' intelligence services produce reliable information when it supports their own political views or suspicions and the services produce utter horseshit when their conclusions point to something else.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 5:44 PM on September 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


I am really not in the mood for an October Surprise at this juncture, the least reason being that it is only the first of September.
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 5:44 PM on September 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


Is the weed especially good in Amsterdam this week? Agents, report!
posted by jfuller at 5:50 PM on September 1, 2008


Doesn't really pass the smell test
posted by captainsohler at 6:07 PM on September 1, 2008


Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty, drjimmy11. If we have to hounddog these war-loving bastards every day until January 9, well, that's what we'll have to do.

Yes! You, random Internet guy, are the thin blue line between us and World War III. The world will never forget your tireless effort in many an online echo chamber.
posted by Krrrlson at 6:10 PM on September 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Is the weed especially good in Amsterdam this week?

As an American, I feel it is our civic duty to go and find out. After all, the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the grow lamps of patriots, or something like that.
posted by JaredSeth at 6:27 PM on September 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


krrrlson, that sounds like a beer ad

Yes! You, Mr random Internet guy, are the thin blue line between us and World War III. The world will never forget your tireless effort in many an online echo chamber.

*sings*

"the carpal tunnel was worth it*

if there's a revolution in luxembourg tomorrow, you can prove you predicted it last month

*sings*

"so much smarter"

and if it all falls apart tomorrow, you'll not only know who to blame, you'll be able to give us his phone and credit card numbers

*sings*

"information want to be free-ee"

so, crack open a nice cold bud light, you wizard of wonkery - you put the bull in bull session

*sings*

"mr random internet guy"

bud light beer, annheiser busch, some town in europe we don't know how to pronounce yet
posted by pyramid termite at 6:29 PM on September 1, 2008 [4 favorites]


Two #mefiers fail their sarcasm checks on the same comment. This is a sad day for IRC.
posted by cortex at 6:33 PM on September 1, 2008


There are only two things I can't stand in this world. People who are intolerant of other people's cultures... and the Dutch.
posted by XMLicious at 6:37 PM on September 1, 2008 [4 favorites]


I can but add to the comment about the Strait of Hormuz:DEBKA reported some two weeks ago
that the American Navy had been sending more and more ship to make sure the straits were kept open should a military action take place. In the meantime, aware of this, Iran has done this:

http://www.debkafile.net/article.php?aid=1357
posted by Postroad at 6:58 PM on September 1, 2008


A Dutch agent in Iran?

Izhn't dat ... vieeeerd?
posted by kcds at 6:59 PM on September 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


For future reference, I--wallstreet1929--am a "well-placed source."
posted by wallstreet1929 at 6:59 PM on September 1, 2008


Metafilter: Doesn't really pass the smell test
posted by toastchee at 7:03 PM on September 1, 2008


So, when does someone chime in with the "and then Bush cancels the election and declares himself President-For-Life" meme that has been repeated a number of times since 2004? That's usually right up there with one of these annual "October Surprise" stories.
posted by briank at 7:18 PM on September 1, 2008


> 17th time's a charm.
> posted by drjimmy11 at 7:36 PM on September 1

I'm sure I've seen more than 17 Iranfoilhatfilter posts. Actually I think y2karl has put up at least 17 all by himself. Here's a few more:

August 1, 2008: Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran
June 30, 2008: Preparing the Battlefield: The Bush Administration steps up its secret moves against Iran

October 1, 2007: Shifting Targets--The Administration’s plan for Iran by Seymour Hersh
September 2, 2007: Considering a war with Iran
april 14, 2007: The war in Iran has already begun
April 8, 2007: Gulf's New Ground Zero
February 8, 2007: From the Wonderful Folks Who Brought You Iraq

October 8, 2006: Bombing Iran-Rove's Plan to Wag the Elephant
September 20, 2006: Inexorable
July 2, 2006: The Last Stand--See also Iran: Consequences Of A War
April 8, 2006: The Iran Plans by Seymour Hersh


> Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty, drjimmy11. If we have to hounddog these war-
> loving bastards every day until January 9, well, that's what we'll have to do.

I'm proud of you, John. But each of us does his part. I'm sitting on my front porch tearing up little bits of paper to keep the bad aliens away. We've both done a great job so far, as you see by the absence of Iran invasions and bad aliens.
posted by jfuller at 7:43 PM on September 1, 2008 [4 favorites]


fopje flauw mopje.
posted by Dave Faris at 7:46 PM on September 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


What's really funny is the advertising link at the bottom of this thread (when you aren't logged in) is for a multiplayer game called OIL EMPIRES!!1!1!! (complete with little F22 icons that drag the banner into view over an image of desert oil infrastructure).

I thought it was actually a posted GIF someone had stolen from FARK.
posted by nudar at 7:53 PM on September 1, 2008


The Iranians will greet us as liberators.
posted by neuron at 8:09 PM on September 1, 2008


... of course, the extra conspiracy thought is that the bush folks and neocons think that the republicans will lose in november, and that by launching an attack before november, they leave the democrats with an impossible situation, paving the way for the republicans/neocons to return to power.

maybe i'm too paranoid. maybe i'm not paranoid enough.
posted by rmd1023 at 8:11 PM on September 1, 2008


The impending air-strike on Iran was to be carried out by unmanned aircraft

Cruise missiles?


Still not enough for hardened sites. They carry only a 1,000 pound warhead.

Still not enough. That is, unless you want nuclear-tipped cruise missiles. ;-)

To attack Iran successfully, you'd need ...

* A wave of cruise missiles.
* A wave of Stealth bombers.
* Follow-on waves of other bombers, plus fighters and anti-air, Wild Weasel-types.

This isn't a single-site job, like the Israelis vs. Osirak. This would be a huge undertaking.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:17 PM on September 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


uh oh.
posted by nickyskye at 8:28 PM on September 1, 2008


> That is, unless you want nuclear-tipped cruise missiles.

The Tomahawk will, I believe, carry a W80 physics package, but none are kept mounted or in ready inventory due to treaty obligations. That doesn't mean one couldn't be whipped up if there was sufficient lead time, just that (theoretically) none are kept deployed with the weapons.

There was also at one point a thing called the "RGM/UGM-109H THTP" that was a hard-target penetrating warhead (conventional) for it, but it was cancelled in the late 90s. If you're engaging in conspiracy theories, though, no reason not to believe that it's been kept alive as a Skunkworks operation for 12 years, in preparation.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:41 PM on September 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


Favourited just for my introduction to the phrase "physics package".
posted by schwa at 8:47 PM on September 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


The AGM-86D is the Penetrator version of the CALCM which is designed to attack deeply buried targets.

In 1996 and 1997, 200 additional CALCMs were produced from excess ALCMs. These missiles, designated Block I, incorporate improvements such as a larger and improved conventional payload (3,000 pound blast class), a multi-channel GPS receiver and integration of the buffer box into the GPS receiver. The upgraded avionics package was retrofitted into all existing CALCM (Block 0) so all AGM-86C missiles are electronically identical.

posted by Brian B. at 8:52 PM on September 1, 2008


Brian B, these are primarily for nuclear usage at this point. From the same Wikipedia link:

The B-52 is the only platform for these missiles. In 2007 USAF announced its intention to retire all of its ACMs and to reduce the ALCM fleet by more than 500 missiles, leaving 528 nuclear cruise missiles.

Also note the bit about the B-52. You'd have zero stealth heading into the launch points, which means you'd have to attack first to suppress air defenses.

I'm not saying it couldn't be done. I'm saying it won't be some sooper-secret surprise mission. It'd be a full-on, "in-for-a-penny, in-for-a-pound," we're-not-just-gonna-break-one-dish-in-the-Pottery-Barn-we're-taking-out-the-entire-mall kinda operation.

Which is a good thing, because it might -- might -- make someone think twice.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:05 PM on September 1, 2008


Still not enough. That is, unless you want nuclear-tipped cruise missiles.

Does anyone remember how the escalation to full-scale nuclear war in the BBC's Threads involved a series of provocations with nuclear-tipped missiles? Instead of a sudden transition from a conventional to a nuclear war, both sides started started spiking their payloads bit by bit.
posted by kid ichorous at 9:07 PM on September 1, 2008


And there are no other militarily operational unmanned aircraft that carry weapons.

eh?

"internal payload - 800 lbs... external payload - up to 3,000 pounds... the aircraft can carry up to 14 Hellfire missiles, compared with two carried on the Predator. The Reaper can stay airborne for up to 14 hours fully loaded."
posted by bilgepump at 10:14 PM on September 1, 2008


And, of course, there are no other militarily operational unmanned aircraft that have been kept secret from the public...
posted by bilgepump at 10:17 PM on September 1, 2008


I think I've read all of these threads so far, believe it or not.

I really hope that all the snark is right, and no one in the States would be idiotic enough to actually invade Iran. I really do. I'm just terrified that, if they don't, they'll let the "bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran" guy do it.
posted by paisley henosis at 11:20 PM on September 1, 2008


I wouldn't trust the AIVD to tell me the correct time of day, let alone this kind of story. And since I'm Dutch, and living in the Netherlands, odds that at some point in time a member of the AIVD will try to tell me the correct time of day. That worries me more than this story.
posted by DreamerFi at 11:32 PM on September 1, 2008


paisley henosis, you mean the guy who's currently the Republican candidate for President?
posted by hattifattener at 11:34 PM on September 1, 2008


DreamerFi: "I wouldn't trust the AIVD to tell me the correct time of day, let alone this kind of story."

If you'd said you didn't trust De Telegraaf to tell you the correct time of day I would have nodded in agreement and moved on. But the AIVD? I'm curious, do you have any reasons for that other than those that apply to any intelligence agency?
posted by ponystyle at 1:17 AM on September 2, 2008


I wouldn't trust De Telegraaf to tell me the correct time of day, it's a sensationalist rag.
posted by bjrn at 2:24 AM on September 2, 2008


> you mean the guy who's currently the Republican candidate for President?

Yeah, that's the one. Between that one, and this one, and the one who shot that guy, I don't care how stupid it would be, or how obvious it is, I don't trust them not to do it.
posted by paisley henosis at 2:54 AM on September 2, 2008


I gotta believe that even the neoest neo-con isn't dumb enough to risk the utter disaster that war with Iran would be.

I agree with this and all your points. But if a war does start, I'm guessing the U.S. won't strike first.

Israel, however, might. They've certainly done similar things before. And if Iran retaliates by launching something into Tel Aviv, then we very quickly come to "Operation Defend Israeli Freedom." Via relentless U.S. bombing of Iran.

In the end, America doesn't have to invade. It has enough munitions to blow its infrastructure apart, declare that it's no longer a nuclear threat, declare victory, and that's it. A war with Iran will not be like the one in Iraq, but more like Operation: Allied Force.

At least, that's what some military planners are probably hoping for.
posted by Ljubljana at 4:42 AM on September 2, 2008


interview with the dutch secret agent
posted by sgt.serenity at 6:54 AM on September 2, 2008


I gotta believe that even the neoest neo-con isn't dumb enough to risk the utter disaster that war with Iran would be.

It won't be their problem.
posted by rokusan at 7:49 AM on September 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


If you'd said you didn't trust De Telegraaf to tell you the correct time of day I would have nodded in agreement and moved on. But the AIVD? I'm curious, do you have any reasons for that other than those that apply to any intelligence agency?

Check your mefimail.
posted by DreamerFi at 8:43 AM on September 2, 2008


instead of leaving it to the u s
Do you think European countries should not have foreign policy of their own, but leave that to the US? Or did I misunderstand your comment?
I think many European countries do not trust the US anymore when it comes to foreign policy/activities.
posted by davar at 8:45 AM on September 2, 2008


“At least, that's what some military planners are probably hoping for”

Agreed. And it would serve some interests. (F’ing pipeline battle) And Iran’s been chummy with Tajikistan. There’s been some road building, all that. So that goes well and you have a whole continguous islamic thing going with comingled (and local) interests. (We can’t have that, can we?)
So yeah, you’d have to knock down that infrastructure to change that direction and isolate Iran.
Our navy could pretty much chew them up and spit them out (not without losses, but still).

But that’s the whole problem with these speculative “we’re gonna attack Iran” threads - there’s motivation beyond the simple U.S. internal politics - trillions of dollars at stake, oil reserves, hydroelectric power, water resources - all translate into strong strategic influence over central Asia at a time when China’s power and influence is waxing.
So are we?
Hell, I don’t know. But it’s not impossible.
And if I’m willing to kill many thousands of people, or disappear them, etc. by proxy or directly - I’m not going to care much about public opinion.

That said, I agree with Cool Papa Bell in terms of means. It’s so stupid it’s disinformation. Someone’s been reading too much Tom Clancy.
(Who, while I dislike his prose, has outstanding detail and info. And who’s work reads very similar to some of these threads - interesting premise, intriguing possibilities, solid details, then something amazingly implausible occurs in a completely goofy way given the technology. The end. Oh, plus it was Nazis all along. And the whole total paradigm shift thing is only local. And amusing. Because we’re in love.)
posted by Smedleyman at 9:32 AM on September 2, 2008


So who's to say the Iranian centrifuges are in hardened sites? So who's to say that the Israelis won't be our patsy and go on their own preemptive conventional strike. It has been done before.
posted by Gungho at 12:33 PM on September 2, 2008


Ack, sorry I'm late to the party.

I pass by the AIVD building every day. It's a rather menacing structure, and a vehemently hideous one as far as I'm concerned: I always imagine it was designed by some disgruntled Stalinist.

(Although, truth be told, the AIVD (formerly BVD) mostly dealt with fake communists.)

It's always a bit weird to imagine that behind this depressing facade plans like these are hatched. I agree that De Telegraaf isn't exactly the most trustworthy of sources (cf. The Sun, The NY Post), but I'm puzzled at DreamerFi's mistrust of the agency: care to share with all of us your objections, DreamerFi?

Additionally, it must be noted that aside from the Telegraaf story and its mention in Elsevier magazine, no other Dutch news media seem to want to touch the story with a ten foot pole. (Unsurprisingly, it was mentioned at GeenStijl, the irreverent if not belligerent blog in which the Telegraaf Media Group holds a plurality stake) I may be wrong and the Google News query is hardly conclusive, but I've not seen a word about it in De Volkskrant, for instance, which for a story of this (supposed) magnitude really seems to indicate that they're not taking it seriously at all.

FWIW, here's the original article in Dutch, here's a mention and partial translation by Iranian news agency FNA, and here's an amateur (I assume) translation. I dug up last Friday's paper edition just now, but it's the same article as the linked one verbatim -- the only difference is a rather generic infographic about possible targets and Iranian missile ranges. Oddly, there's no "con'td on page N", no analysis, nothing beside the lead story on the front page.

So yeah, this is one of those stories the merit of which I find very hard to gauge, especially considering the almost complete lack of secondary sources. Maybe De Telegraaf's report is correct, and one or more AIVD operatives have been extracted due to an impending attack on Iran, and a source within the AIVD has intentionally or not leaked this information to Joost de Haas and Bart Mos of De Telegraaf -- who, incidentally, Dutch observers may remember as the two journalists detained by the The Hague magistrate for refusing to name their sources in an earlier AIVD leak in the Mink Kok case. Or maybe the information was leaked but it is not actually true, and it is a disinformation attempt intended to scare the Iranian authorities, or even influence the US presidential election. Or lastly, maybe De Haas and Bos have pulled the story out of thin air.

Now, the first scenario calls attention to the fact mentioned above that media coverage of the story in NL has been scarce to say the least, plus it requires the assumption that De Haas and Mos were the only members of the media privy to this info and willing to cover it. This seems possible to me -- although certainly a stretch -- but also incongruous, because naturally, questions arise as to the relative silence from Dutch media.

The second one requires a pretty sturdy tinfoil hat, but again I don't want to dismiss it outright. However, it does require the assumption that either a) De Haas & Bos got played big time, which seems unlikely given their credentials; or b) that they are in on the conspiracy, which sends us careening off into nine-hundred-and-eleven-ply tinfoil hat territory.

The last one is tempting to Dutch observers like me, because I have a deep-rooted mistrust of De Telegraaf as noted above. It has a record of populism and sensationalism, but even still I feel it would be implausible for journalists of their stature to literally make up a story of this magnitude like that.

Bottom line: I do not doubt the ability of the AIVD to conduct covert operations in Iran -- although it seems doubtful to me that any such action would be unilateral in nature. I am genuinely confused by the Telegraaf report: you'd think it would have gained a bit more traction given its importance if accurate; on the other hand, it's not the most trustworthy of news sources IMO and I can sort-of understand their counterparts not wanting to burn themselves wasting valuable paper real estate on a (possible|likely) dud story. At the same time, it's tantalizing enough to warrant further investigation. On the whole though, considering all the above, I'd consider the report as it stands rather dubious.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 1:27 PM on September 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


sgt.serenity: "interview with the dutch secret agent "
Loved it, although slightly unsettled by the freaky semi-South-African accent with a hint of Strine.
posted by ponystyle at 3:38 AM on September 3, 2008


The Dutch conspiracy has been undermining American power for a long time, starting with bifurcation of doors and placing 'their' cleanser in American homes, this evil plan was exposed with the arrest of Dutch Schultz back in the thirties!
posted by hortense at 10:46 AM on September 3, 2008




Gazprom Neft eager to develop oilfields in Iran


Western companies are leaving Iran. France's Total left in early summer, while Spanish oil and gas company Repsol YPF and Royal Dutch Shell have withdrawn from the development of the 13th phase of South Pars.

But Russian companies are increasing their presence in Iran. In midsummer, Gazprom and the National Iranian Oil Company signed a cooperation agreement under which the Russian company is to receive a complete package of oil and natural gas projects.
LUKoil, Russia's largest private oil producer, owns a 25% stake in the Anaran exploration project. Tatneft, one of Russia's top ten crude producers, also wants to work in Iran.

posted by nickyskye at 7:16 PM on September 3, 2008 [1 favorite]




Make Stuff Up, Bomb Iran
posted by homunculus at 9:28 AM on September 21, 2008


Bob Baer: Bet on Israel bombing Iran
posted by homunculus at 3:56 PM on September 29, 2008


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