Washington’s Black Ops against Iran
Extensive range of covert operations envisaged by US Congress
By Dr. Ismail Salami
Global Research, October 30, 2011
The US secret agenda for tightening its vice-like grip on the Islamic Republic of Iran has taken on an apparently new form after the anti-Iran alleged assassination plot against the Saudi ambassador to the United States, Adel al-Jubeir, raised many eyebrows among experts and analysts around the world.
With a strong penchant for pushing for tougher action on Iran, the Obama administration has already imposed a series of sanctions against the Islamic Republic. However, a Republican-controlled congressional committee has recently heard testimony demanding an extensive range of covert operations against the country.
The operations, which range from cyber attacks to political assassinations, are speculated to be conducted under the feeble excuse that Iran was the alleged architect of an assassination plot against the Saudi envoy to the United States. By political assassination, the US congressmen unconsciously mean the liquidation of the Iranian nuclear scientists, an act they actually started long ago.
Retired Army Gen. John Keane told a hearing of two key subcommittees of the House Committee on Homeland Security on Wednesday, “We’ve got to put our hand around their throat now. Why don’t we kill them? We kill other people who kill others.”
Also, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) poured some pearls of wisdom over others and called for “sober, reasoned discussion.”
“Iran’s leaders must be held accountable for their action,” she said, “but we cannot take any reckless actions which may lead to opening another front in the ‘War on Terror,’ which the American people do not want and cannot afford.”
Naturally, the US government, in essence, cannot afford to wage another war at least in view of the economic woes it has wrought upon the American citizens, regardless of other influencing factors.
The stone that started rolling fell into the hands of New York Congressman Peter King who made an extremely bizarre comment. He suggested that the US should kick out Iranian officials at the UN in New York and in Washington and accused them of being spies, ignorant of the fact that the UN is considered an independent international body and that the US has no authority to ‘kick out’ diplomats accredited there en masse.
Overwhelmed with a sense of false eagerness, he renewed the anti-Iran alleged assassination ploy and said excitedly, “So you have the assassination of a foreign ambassador, you have the willingness to kill hundreds of Americans — this is an act of war,” King said, “I don’t think we can just do business as usual or even carry out sanctions as usual.”
The volley of vitriolic words against Iran which issued from Mr. King reeks of blind enmity long egged on by other hawks in Washington.
In point of fact, the anti-Iran moves practically started in 2007 when US Congress agreed to George W. Bush, the then US president, to fund a major increase in covert operations against Iran. According to the intelligence officials who spoke to the Blotter on ABCNews.com, the CIA was then given a presidential approval to commence its covert ‘black’ operations inside Iran. To that effect, over four hundred million dollars were allocated in a Presidential Finding signed by George W. Bush. The ultimate goal of the finding was to cripple Iran’s religious government and the operations involved throwing support behind minority Ahwazi Arab and Baluchis and other opposition groups as well as amassing intelligence about Iran’s nuclear sites.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the subject, the intelligence officials confirmed that Bush had signed a “nonlethal presidential finding”, giving the CIA carte blanche to engage in any sabotaging activities including a coordinated campaign of propaganda, disinformation and manipulation of Iran’s currency and international financial transactions in order to destabilize and eventually achieve regime change in Iran.
“I can’t confirm or deny whether such a program exists or whether the president signed it, but it would be consistent with an overall American approach trying to find ways to put pressure on the regime,” said Bruce Riedel, a retired CIA senior official, an expert on Iran and the Middle East (ABCNEWS.com May 22, 2007).
In June 2007, The New Yorker magazine also ran a similar story by Seymour Hersh, confirming that the finding had been signed by Bush and intended to destabilize the Islamic government.
“The Finding was focused on undermining Iran’s nuclear ambitions and trying to undermine the government through regime change,” the article cited a person familiar with its contents as saying, and involved “working with opposition groups and passing money.”
From an intelligence point of view, the fact that the US government is resorting to covert black operations against Iran rules out the possibility of a military strike against the country.
According to reports, US ambassadors in Islamabad have repeatedly asked for opening a consulate in the province of Baluchistan, a suspicious demand from the US. In 2011, the call was renewed by US ambassador Cameron Munter to Islamabad. Persistence in this demand is to be taken seriously. Baluchistan is strategically important as it is a harbor for the anti-Iran terrorist group, Jundullah, in the first place and a separatist Pakistani province in the second place.
In fact, Washington greatly favors the establishment of a ‘Greater Baluchistan’ which would integrate the Baluch areas of Pakistan with those of Iran. Military expert Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters suggests that Pakistan should be broken up, leading to the formation of a separate country: ‘Greater Baluchistan’ or ‘Free Baluchistan’ (June 2006, The Armed Forces Journal). As a result, this would incorporate the Baluch provinces of Pakistan and Iran into a single political entity which can be tailored to suit the interests of Washington.
So it seems that the US harbors two main ulterior motives if this demand is answered. First, it can fulfill its dream of establishing the Greater Baluchistan, consolidate firm presence in this separatist part of Pakistan and secondly, it will be in a position to avail itself of this influence to carry out its sabotaging activities within Iran.
Earlier in 2007, the Blotter on ABCNews.com revealed the role of the US government in backing the terrorist Iranian group , which is responsible for a number of gruesome assassinations of the Iranian civilians on the Iran-Pakistan-Afghanistan border. The terrorist group spares no efforts in sowing the seed of terror in the southern Iranian province of Sistan-Baluchistan and their lust for murder and cruelty knows no remission. The victims the group has so far claimed include many women and children who have become the direct target of their killing. In July 2010, the group mounted a pair of suicide attacks on a major Shi’ite mosque in the city of Zahedan, the capital of Iran’s Sistan-Balochistan Province, killing dozens of worshippers and wounding over 100 people.
Although US officials deny any ‘direct funding’ of the terrorist group, they acknowledge that they are in contact with the leader of the group on a regular basis. A similar terroristic attack was launched by the same group on a mosque in Zahedan in May 2009, which led to the martyrdom of many worshippers.
Sadly enough, Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) implicitly supports the group and reportedly shelters some of its high-profile members in coordination with the CIA.
Isn’t it paradoxical that Jundullah, a terrorist group and an offshoot of al-Qaeda, is directly funded by the US government which keeps bandying about its so-called ‘war on terror’ in the world?
This is enough to cause the US to hang its head low in shame and humility.
Dr. Ismail Salami is an Iranian author and political analyst. A prolific writer, he has written numerous books and articles on the Middle East. His articles have been translated into a number of languages.
Joint Subcommittee Hearing: Iranian Terror Operations on American Soil
Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence | 311 Cannon House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 | 10/26/2011 – 10:00am
On Wednesday, October 26, 2011 the Committee on Homeland Security’s Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence and the Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Management will hold a joint hearing entitled “Iranian Terror Operations on American Soil.” The Subcommittees will meet at 10:00 a.m. in 311 Cannon House Office Building.
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), Subcommittee Chairman
Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-PA), Subcommittee Chairman
Rep. Peter King (R-NY), Chairman
Subcommittee Chairman McCaul questions witnesses at hearing on Iranian terror operations in U.S.
Subcommittee Chairman Meehan questions witnesses at hearing on Iranian terror operations in U.S.
General Jack Keane
United States Army (Retired)
[full text of testimony]
Mr. Reuel Marc Gerecht
Foundation for Defense of Democracies
Dr. Matthew Levitt
Stein Program on Counterterrorism & Intelligence
The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
[full text of testimony]
[truth in testimony]
Dr. Lawrence Korb
Center For American Progress Action Fund
[full text of testimony]
[truth in testimony]
Colonel Timothy J. Geraghty
United States Marine Corps (Retired)
[full text of testimony]
[truth in testimony]
Rep. King: Kick Iranians out of UN
Oct 26, 2011
By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Rep. Peter King said Wednesday that the United States should kick out Iranian officials at the United Nations in New York and in Washington because many of them are spies.
Speaking at a hearing, King (R-Seaford) said such a move would send a clear signal after the recent alleged Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington.
The U.S. and Iran have no diplomatic relations and thus there are no Iranian diplomats in the U.S. except those attached to the UN mission in New York. Iran maintains a full-time UN ambassador and a staff there. Although those diplomats are allowed to live in the U.S. for that purpose, the UN is an independent international body and the U.S. cannot simply kick out diplomats accredited there en masse.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration is setting up an Internet-based embassy to reach out to Iranians hoping to broaden their understanding of the United States, while at the same time studying new sanctions to raise the pressure on Iran’s government over its disputed nuclear program and alleged ties to terrorism.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clintonsaid in interviews Wednesday with Persian-language media that the U.S. wanted to affirm its friendship to the Iranian people even at a time of rising tensions withTehran. As part of that, she said a “virtual embassy in Tehran” will be online by the end of the year, helping Iranians wishing to travel or study in the United States.
“We’re trying to reach out to the Iranian people,” Clinton said. “We’ve tried to reach out to the government, just not very successfully.”
Clinton stressed that the U.S. was committed to its approach of engagement and sanctions toward the Iranian government. But she said the outreach was directed to Iranians who’ve suffered as a result of their government’s “reckless” conduct” regarding uranium enrichment, fomenting unrest in neighboring countries and its role in the alleged assassination plot.