The US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) was established in 1961 and has grown into one of the US government’s largest intelligence organizations. It employs 17,000 people, including thousands stationed overseas, and its 2013 fiscal year budget request was for $3.15 billion. Yet, the DIA is also one of the more secretive agencies in the U.S. intelligence community, regularly denying access to basic information about its structure, functions and activities. On November 20, the National Security Archive posted a new sourcebook of over 50 declassified documents that help to illuminate the DIA’s five-decades-long history. [more inside]
"More than sixty years have passed since Israel started its nuclear venture and almost half a century has elapsed since it crossed the nuclear weapons threshold. Yet Israel's nuclear history still lacks a voice of its own: Israel has never issued an authorized and official nuclear history; no insiders have ever been authorized to tell the story from within. Unlike all seven other nuclear weapons states, Israel's nuclear policy is essentially one of non-acknowledgement. Israel believes that nuclear silence is golden, referring to its nuclear code of conduct as the policy of amimut ("opacity" in Hebrew)." A special collection of declassified documents was published by the National Security Archive this Wednesday, that sheds some light on How Israel Hid Its Secret Nuclear Weapons Program.
In 2011, the CIA declassified documents admitting its involvement in the 1953 coup that overthrew Iran's elected government and installed Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, details of which were first first disclosed by the New York Times in 2000. Timeline. However, they refused to release them to the public. Today, the National Security Archive research institute has (after a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit) obtained and made the 21 documents public. "Marking the sixtieth anniversary of the overthrow of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq, the National Security Archive is today posting recently declassified CIA documents on the United States' role in the controversial operation. American and British involvement in Mosaddeq's ouster has long been public knowledge, but today's posting includes what is believed to be the CIA's first formal acknowledgement that the agency helped to plan and execute the coup. [more inside]
Syria Options Go From Bad To Worse
As reports have surfaced of possible use of sarin gas in the Syrian civil war, calls by long-time proponents of U.S. intervention on behalf of the anti-Assad rebels have grown to a fever pitch. These same voices, both at home and abroad, have evoked the administration’s previously stated “red line” on use of chemical weapons. But even assuming that reports of WMD usage in Syria turn out to be true, the Obama Administration’s position may be far more nuanced than previously thought.[more inside]
A Trail of Bullet Casings Leads From Africa’s Wars Back to Iran. Iran’s Cartridges & Their Quiet Distribution to Brutal Regimes and Many Wars. [more inside]
Richard Silverstein, an American journalist and blogger on Israeli affairs, says he has been given a leaked document which outlines a plan for an Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear facilities. (BBC).
To the Iranian people. To all the fathers, mothers, children, brothers and sisters. For there to be a war between us, first we must be afraid of each other, we must hate. I'm not afraid of you, I don't hate you. I don t even know you. No Iranian ever did me no harm. I never even met an Iranian...Just one in Paris in a museum. Nice dude. [more inside]
Iran has pledged to open its oil bourse to currencies other than the US dollar as of March 20th, 2012. Previously. The phrase "nuclear option" gets thrown around in a lot of metaphorical contexts -- perhaps this one would be the most apt. [more inside]
The International Atomic Energy Agency says that Iran has tripled its production of >20% enriched uranium in the past three months, while adding 2,600 new uranium centrifuges to its main enrichment facility in Natanz. The agency has not received a "satisfactory explanation" of how 20kg of uranium metal went missing from an Iranian research laboratory. Iran has been blocking IAEA inspections, and the agency "is unable to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities". In recent years, Russia and China have chosen to limit UN sanctions against Iran, whose government denies it aims to make atomic weapons.
After speaking with many senior Israeli leaders and chiefs of the military and the intelligence, I have come to believe that Israel will indeed strike Iran in 2012. Perhaps in the small and ever-diminishing window that is left, the United States will choose to intervene after all, but here, from the Israeli perspective, there is not much hope for that. Instead there is that peculiar Israeli mixture of fear — rooted in the sense that Israel is dependent on the tacit support of other nations to survive — and tenacity, the fierce conviction, right or wrong, that only the Israelis can ultimately defend themselves.
The U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program has been training the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and the California sea lion (Zalophus californianus) in mine and swimmer detection for many years. (The program was declassified in the 1990s.) Military dolphins were used in the first and second Gulf Wars, and there are rumors they are deployed in the Gulf today. These animals could be important if Iran blockades the Hormuz Strait as threatened.
Elbridge Colby and Austin Long lay out a case for the US not attacking Iran. As the news of the assassination of a scientists who works on Iran's purported nuclear programs sinks in and the pressure ramps up to attack Iran, Elbridge Colby and Austin Long present a compelling case for why the US should eschew an attack on Iran and follow a containment agenda instead.
Following a months-long investigation, the Department of Justice has announced the existence of a well-funded plot "conceived, sponsored and directed" by "high-ranking members of the Iranian government" to assassinate Saudi Arabian ambassador Adel Al-Jubeir on U.S. soil in conjunction with informants in Mexican drug cartel Los Zetas. The "Hollywood" plot, revealed in an afternoon press conference and described in a detailed 21-page complaint [PDF], is alleged to have involved an attack on the Saudi and Israeli embassies in Washington, D.C. One suspect, naturalized American citizen Arbab Arbabsiar, has been arrested, while co-conspirator and Quds Force member Gholam Shakuri remains at large. Iranian officials were quick to label the charges a "fabrication" intended to distract from America's economic troubles.
"Immediately after an attack by Israel, and even with no Iranian response, the United States is likely to begin significant defensive deployments to the region. Its attempts over a period of a year to negotiate with the Iranians make the Obama Administration more vulnerable to domestic pressures to be strong in its reaction to an Israeli strike.The Israeli Threat: An Analysis of the Consequences of an Israeli Strike on Iranian Nuclear Facilities [PDF]. [more inside]
At an early stage after an Israeli attack, the United States would be faced with deciding whether to passively await casualties or to attack Iranian military capabilities on its own. The United States would probably decide to finish the job on Iranian nuclear facilities and destroy as much as possible of Iran’s capability to project combat power."
“Josephine had practically every desirable personal characteristic, except wisdom and mercy.” Gee, that sounds like she actually isn’t a nice person at all! Gary Brecher (previously) reviews Banquo’s Ghosts, a political-minded spy thriller from National Review editor Richard Lowry and novelist Keith Korman. Lowry describes it as an "episode of “24″ written by Proust. " [more inside]
The aircraft carrier, a majestic and grand symbol of American naval might... susceptible to swarming small-boat assault and weak against ballistic missiles, nevermind an anti-ship ballistic missile. Is it time to reevaluate the role of the aircraft carrier in a modern naval strategy?
In 2009, a remarkably gifted politician, confronting a remarkably difficult set of challenges, will have to learn to say "No we can't", Guantánamo will prove a moral minefield, economic recovery will be invisible to the naked eye, governments must prepare for the day they stop financial guarantees, we will judge our commitment to sustainability, scientists should research the causes of religion, we will all be potential online paparazzi, English will have more words than any other language (but it's meaningless), Afghanistan will see a surge of Western (read: American) troops, Iran will continue its nuclear quest while diplomacy lies in shambles, the sea floor is the new frontier, we should rethink aging, (non-)voters will continue to thwart the European project -- but cheap travel will continue to buoy it -- though it has some unfinished business to attend to, and a Nordic defence bond will blossom.
The Economist: The World in 2009. [more inside]
The Economist: The World in 2009. [more inside]
Is This a 'Victory'? "We hear again and again from Washington that we have turned a corner in Iraq and are on the path to victory. If so, it is a strange victory."
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.
Bush administration officials held a meeting recently in the Vice President's office to discuss ways to provoke a war with Iran. [more inside]
American-Dutch photographer Peter van Agtmael and English photographer Olivia Arthur are the two newest nominees recently welcomed into Magnum Photos. Agtmael's images of Afghanistan and Iraq are very powerful - he discusses his work in Conscientious. Arthur's recent work has focused on women's experiences in what she calls the Middle Distance. [more inside]
The Man Between War and Peace. "As head of U. S. Central Command, Admiral William 'Fox' Fallon is in charge of American military strategy for the most troubled parts of the world. Now, as the White House has been escalating the war of words with Iran, and seeming ever more determined to strike militarily before the end of this presidency, the admiral has urged restraint and diplomacy. Who will prevail, the president or the admiral?" [Via Think Progress.]
Sarko l'Americain addresses US Congress. French President Nicolas Sarkozy has told the US Congress it can count on France's support against terrorism in Afghanistan and Iran's nuclear plan. [Full Text here PDF]. Here also, is a recent take on Franco-American relations [more inside]
The Secret History of the Impending War with Iran That the White House Doesn't Want You to Know [print version] profiles former NSC Middle East policy experts Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann and how the Bush administration turned down a March 2003 peace offer from Iran. [more inside]
Wilson et al v. McConnell et al. This site has all the legal documents surrounding Valerie Plame's legal case against the CIA over her new book. CIA censors blacked out 10 percent of the copy, as can seen in this excerpt from the book, and Plame is not allowed to speak freely in her interviews. [Via No Quarter.] [more inside]
Iraq was just the beginning. According to retired General Wesley Clark, a top-secret memo detailed a plan for “taking out” seven countries in five years, ending with Iran. [more inside]
In the U.S., motorists do not pay their way. The US government spends more on highways and other auto-related expenses than it receives from auto-related taxes, unlike almost every country in Europe. In a recent report [pdf], Mark Delucchi calculates automobile-related costs and revenues in three different ways and concludes the subsidy is around 20-70 cents per gallon or $24-105 billion in 2002. But what are automobile-related costs, you ask? [more inside]
This summer, the White House, pushed by the office of Vice-President Dick Cheney, requested that the Joint Chiefs of Staff redraw long-standing plans for a possible attack on Iran, according to former officials and government consultants... Now the emphasis is on 'surgical' strikes on Revolutionary Guard Corps facilities in Tehran and elsewhere, which, the Administration claims, have been the source of attacks on Americans in Iraq. What had been presented primarily as a counter-proliferation mission has been reconceived as counterterrorism... The former intelligence official added...'Meanwhile, the politicians are saying, 'You can’t do it, because every Republican is going to be defeated, and we’re only one fact from going over the cliff in Iraq.' But Cheney doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the Republican worries, and neither does the President.'Shifting Targets by Seymour Hersh
See also 'The President Has Accepted Ethnic Cleansing'
Lieberman-Kyl’s Iran amendment passes. By a vote of 76-22, the Senate passed the Lieberman-Kyl amendment, which threatens to “combat, contain and [stop]” Iran via “military instruments.” Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) called the amendment “Cheney’s fondest pipe dream” and said it could “read as a backdoor method of gaining Congressional validation for military action.”
"Considering a war with Iran: A discussion paper on WMD in the Middle East" (PDF). A new study by two British scholars claims that the United States has the capacity for and may be prepared to launch a massive assault on Iran. This comes just in time for the post Labor Day product rollout. [Via Informed Comment.]
Angered by the previous 'Assault on Iran', the Union of Islamic Student Societies of Iran hit back yesterday by the official debut of Special Operation: Rescue the Nuke Scientist. [YouTube]
The "same people who attacked us on 9/11"? It may be the very latest talking point from the Administration, but it's actually true--altho it's not Al Qaeda in Iraq, but Saudis. Although Bush administration officials have frequently lashed out at Syria and Iran, accusing it of helping insurgents and militias here, the largest number of foreign fighters and suicide bombers in Iraq come from a third neighbor, Saudi Arabia ... A historical note: 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were Saudis.
Senator Lieberman advocates military strike on Iran Newsfilter: Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) on CBS's Face the Nation yesterday morning laid out a case for the US taking military action against Iran. Glenn Greenwald says that while neocon true believers are becoming harder to find in the GOP ranks, Holy Joe embodies one in its purest form. The Salem-News simply calls his demands cowardly, and others wonder if he has a point.
Bomb Iceland instead of Iran is the modest proposal of Princeton Professor of Political Economy Uwe Reinhardt in today's Daily Princetonian. Some enterprising Aussies are way ahead of him on that one. Heck, it wouldn't even be the first time the U.S. and Britain occupied Iceland. [via RÚV, the Icelandic state broadcaster]
Gulf's New Ground Zero. A busy Iranian port will be a crucial nerve centre if the long-threatened US attack comes.
Behind Enemy Lines Liberal use of this narcotic produced with high voltage found to reduce the affects of PTSD, in coalition and British forces in particular.
22 basic suggested readings on the Middle East from history professor and informed commenter on Middle Eastern affairs Juan Cole.
The Redirection. "Is the Administration’s new policy aiding our enemies in the war on terrorism?" New article by Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker.
..."Shifting to StratCom indicates that they are talking about a really punishing air-force and naval air attack [on Iran]," says Lang. ..."If they write a plan like that and the president issues an execute order, the forces will execute it. He's got the power to do that as commander-in-chief. We set that up during the Cold War. It may, after the fact, be considered illegal, or an impeachable offense, but if he orders them to do it, they will do it." ...by the end of February the United States will have enough forces in place to mount an assault on Iran. That, in the words of former national-security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, would be "an act of political folly" so severe that "the era of American preponderance could come to a premature end."From the Wonderful Folks Who Brought You Iraq
Stepped up US preparations for war against Iran
The United States and Iran: the logic of war
How the press can prevent another Iraq
What to Ask Before the Next War
Israel leaks plans for nuclear strike on Iran. The details were leaked (on purpose it appears) from Israeli military personal in order to test the waters, prepare the world, and/or put pressure on others to act first. One source: "As soon as the green light is given, it will be one mission, one strike and the Iranian nuclear project will be demolished." Glad I don't live in the Middle East.
The End of The "Summer of Diplomacy": Assessing U.S. Military Options on Iran (PDF). "In a new report for The Century Foundation, Retired Air Force Colonel Sam Gardiner warns that powerful voices in the Bush administration are making the case for air strikes aimed not only at setting back Iran’s nuclear program, but also at toppling the country’s government. He says that these officials are undeterred by the concerns of military leaders about whether such attacks would be effective." [Via The Agonist and FDL.]
In the days after Hezbollah crossed from Lebanon into Israel, on July 12th, to kidnap two soldiers, triggering an Israeli air attack on Lebanon and a full-scale war, the Bush Administration seemed strangely passive... The Bush Administration, however, was closely involved in the planning of Israel’s retaliatory attacks. President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney were convinced, current and former intelligence and diplomatic officials told me, that a successful Israeli Air Force bombing campaign against Hezbollah’s heavily fortified underground-missile and command-and-control complexes in Lebanon could ease Israel’s security concerns and also serve as a prelude to a potential American preëmptive attack to destroy Iran’s nuclear installations, some of which are also buried deep underground.Test Case
Inside the Pentagon, senior commanders have increasingly challenged the President’s plans, according to active-duty and retired officers and officials. The generals and admirals have told the Administration that the bombing campaign will probably not succeed in destroying Iran’s nuclear program. They have also warned that an attack could lead to serious economic, political, and military consequences for the United States. A crucial issue in the military’s dissent, the officers said, is the fact that American and European intelligence agencies have not found specific evidence of clandestine activities or hidden facilities; the war planners are not sure what to hit. “The target array in Iran is huge, but it’s amorphous,” a high-ranking general told me. “The question we face is, When does innocent infrastructure evolve into something nefarious?” The high-ranking general added that the military’s experience in Iraq, where intelligence on weapons of mass destruction was deeply flawed, has affected its approach to Iran. “We built this big monster with Iraq, and there was nothing there. This is son of Iraq,” he said.The Last Stand
See also Iran: war by October?
See also The countdown to war
See also Iran: Consequences Of A War
Please, do mention the war. Really, it's hard not to. After all, in a sense football is war, as the General famously joked. Sometimes it's peace. Same goes for that other football, by the way.
The Iran Plans by Seymour Hersh.
Battle plans for Iran... resonates with the sad ring of real possibility.
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