Skip to comments.Iranian Alert -- August 30, 2004 [EST]-- IRAN LIVE THREAD -- "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
Posted on 08/29/2004 9:14:12 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
The US media still largely ignores news regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran. As Tony Snow of the Fox News Network has put it, this is probably the most under-reported news story of the year. As a result, most Americans are unaware that the Islamic Republic of Iran is NOT supported by the masses of Iranians today. Modern Iranians are among the most pro-American in the Middle East. In fact they were one of the first countries to have spontaneous candlelight vigils after the 911 tragedy (see photo).
There is a popular revolt against the Iranian regime brewing in Iran today. I began these daily threads June 10th 2003. On that date Iranians once again began taking to the streets to express their desire for a regime change. Today in Iran, most want to replace the regime with a secular democracy.
The regime is working hard to keep the news about the protest movement in Iran from being reported. Unfortunately, the regime has successfully prohibited western news reporters from covering the demonstrations. The voices of discontent within Iran are sometime murdered, more often imprisoned. Still the people continue to take to the streets to demonstrate against the regime.
In support of this revolt, Iranians in America have been broadcasting news stories by satellite into Iran. This 21st century news link has greatly encouraged these protests. The regime has been attempting to jam the signals, and locate the satellite dishes. Still the people violate the law and listen to these broadcasts. Iranians also use the Internet and the regime attempts to block their access to news against the regime. In spite of this, many Iranians inside of Iran read these posts daily to keep informed of the events in their own country.
This daily thread contains nearly all of the English news reports on Iran. It is thorough. If you follow this thread you will witness, I believe, the transformation of a nation. This daily thread provides a central place where those interested in the events in Iran can find the best news and commentary. The news stories and commentary will from time to time include material from the regime itself. But if you read the post you will discover for yourself, the real story of what is occurring in Iran and its effects on the war on terror.
I am not of Iranian heritage. I am an American committed to supporting the efforts of those in Iran seeking to replace their government with a secular democracy. I am in contact with leaders of the Iranian community here in the United States and in Iran itself.
If you read the daily posts you will gain a better understanding of the US war on terrorism, the Middle East and why we need to support a change of regime in Iran. Feel free to ask your questions and post news stories you discover in the weeks to come.
If all goes well Iran will be free soon and I am convinced become a major ally in the war on terrorism. The regime will fall. Iran will be free. It is just a matter of time.
Aug. 29, 2004 14:45 | Updated Aug. 29, 2004 23:57
Fischer: Nuclear Iran would be a 'nightmare'
By HERB KEINON AND AP
An Iranian nuclear arms buildup would be a "nightmare," German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer warned Sunday, saying Europe is looking to head off any dangerous confrontation with Tehran.
Fischer said an Iranian nuclear challenge only adds to Middle East problems that include bringing security and stability to postwar Iraq, resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict and introducing democratic reforms.
"It would be a nightmare for the region ... if there'd be the beginning of an arms race - a nuclear arms race - in the region," Fischer told reporters in Jordan, where he was meeting with Foreign Minister Marwan Muasher. "We are in intensive talks with Iran, and we hope the leadership in Tehran would not miscalculate the situation."
Fischer also indicated Germany, France and Britain were near an understanding with Tehran on supplying Iran with nuclear energy technology - a prospect the European have held out if their suspicions about a nuclear weapons program are alleviated.
"We think we have reached an agreement, and we are ready to fulfill our part step by step and word by word," Fischer said. The Iranians accused the Europeans of backing out on a previous commitment.
Fischer did not elaborate, but said: "We are really very serious to find a way out of a very dangerous, possible confrontation."
Fischer, currently on a regional tour, is slated to arrive in Israel Monday for a one-day visit that will include talks with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom.
This is the first visit for Fischer who in 2002 visited every few months since February 2004.
In addition to meeting Sharon and Shalom, Fischer will also meet Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz and Labor leader Shimon Peres. German diplomatic officials said Fischer is not slated to visit the Palestinian Authority.
Fischer's visit comes at a time when Israel is lobbying the European Union not to support an expected Palestinian resolution at the United Nations calling for sanctions on Israel because it has not abided by the International Court of Justice's ruling to dismantle the security fence, and at a time when the EU is looking for a more central role in the diplomatic process.
EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, who was here in July, was the last top-tier European diplomat to visit, arriving within days of the UN vote calling for Israel to abide by the ICJ ruling on the security fence.
The Solana visit, as a result of that vote, was held in a tense atmosphere, with Israel saying it may freeze the EU out of the diplomatic process because of their imbalanced approach to the conflict, and with Solana countering that the EU will take part in the Mideast diplomatic process "whether Israel likes it or not."
The talks with Fischer are expected to focus on the disengagement plan, Israel's relations with the EU, and the Iranian nuclear issue.
In a related development, Shalom met EU special Mideast envoy Marc Otte on Sunday and said that since PA Chairman Yasser Arafat feels Egypt has lowered its profile regarding possible involvement in the disengagement plan, the EU must, as a result, exert pressure on the PA to implement security reforms. Shalom told Otte that Arafat is currently waiting to see the results of the November elections in the US, hoping that a change of presidents will relieve the pressure on him.
Otte also met Sunday with Justice Minister Yosef Lapid, who told him that if Germany, France, and Britain do not exert enough pressure on Iran to stop its nuclear program, diplomats may lose control of the situation.
from the August 30, 2004 edition
US stakes between Iraq, Iran
WASHINGTON During the Athens Olympics, world-class Iranian judo champion Arash Miresmaeili forfeited his place when he refused to compete against Israeli athlete Ehud Vaks. This small vignette pales in comparison with the 1972 Munich Olympics, when Middle Eastern politics intruded on the Games in a far more lethal way, but it provides some insight into the late-summer intrigues in the region.
For weeks now, Iran and Israel have been exchanging threats and barbs over Iran's nuclear program. Israel wants to raise the temperature over Iran's program, perhaps to win more focused attention from Washington and the international community, perhaps to deter Iran from going the next step in enrichment activities at the Bushehr reactor. Hints of Israeli contingency planning have provoked strong words from Tehran, including threats to destroy the Dimona facility where Israel's own nuclear program was developed decades ago.
This war of words may hint at a real reckoning point: Israel believes that Iran is only months from crossing new thresholds, and perhaps no more than two to three years away from completing its nuclear project. The Aug. 17 announcement that the Bushehr reactor will not be operational until 2006 may be intended to bring this round to a close. Is Iran blinking in light of Israeli statements or is it hoping to buy time with the international community that will address the Iran issue at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and later at the UN in September?
US Undersecretary of State John Bolton insists that the Iran nuclear problem will be dealt with diplomatically. But US officials have used the UN before to declare that diplomatic means are exhausted, and they are now expected to seek punitive action from the Security Council, should Iran fail to satisfy the IAEA in September.
Meanwhile Iran and Iraq are also exchanging harsh words as they stumble toward a new relationship. Acute agitation stirred in the Iraqi Shiite community by radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's challenge to the interim government and US policies has created opportunities for Iran, which almost certainly has ties to every major Iraqi political and sectarian faction. Iraqi Defense Minister Hazem el-Shaalan is the most antagonistic in characterizing Iran's behavior, accusing it of working to destabilize his country. He may be reacting to both the fact of Iran's meddling and to deep-seated fear about Iran's strategic designs on Iraq.
As different power centers in the Iraqi Shiite community square off, it is hard to avoid the impression that Iran's interests might be best served by supporting the young firebrand al-Sadr. Al-Sadr is best suited to bring the US down a notch, and thus make the US less likely to work directly for regime change in Iran.
Iranian President Mohammad Khatami said Aug. 23 that Iraq's interim government risked losing popular support because of its backing for military operations against Shiite Muslim rebels in Najaf, and made clear that responsibility for all the stresses on the Shiite community falls to the US occupying forces and their "collaborators." Iranian parliamentarian, Mahmoud Mohammadi said it more directly: "Moqtada al-Sadr is an anti-occupiers figure and Iran should support him."
But there may not be consensus in Tehran that Iraqi turmoil is the best option. One has to assume that there are leaders in Tehran who fear chaos and have enough on their plate not to want to provoke total failure of governance in Iraq. Many Iranians probably wish Iraq some stability, and felt deep animus toward the Saddam Hussein regime, not to all of Iraqi society.
In both of these summer dustups, the stakes for the US are high. Yet Washington, perhaps distracted by campaign season, has been coy in what could create serious new complications for its regional policies. With respect to Iran's nuclear policy, Washington is for now pursuing an overt political strategy, trying to keep like-minded Western states in a loose coalition to press for full Iranian compliance with its IAEA and nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty obligations. But there could well be a separate track, planning for paramilitary options, alone or secretly coordinated with Israel, to delay or disrupt any imminent Iranian activities that would constitute a "point of no return" in its nuclear plans.(Editor's note: US officials Saturday confirmed reports that the FBI has been investigating whether a Pentagon analyst funneled classified material about Iran to Israel.)
The US also has big stakes in how Iran and Iraq learn to live as neighbors. At one level, the administration may expect Iraq to see Iran as a regional threat that would deepen Iraq's reliance on the US as its security partner and build regional support for policies that constrain Iran's ambitions. But Iraqis themselves need to decide how to manage this large and overly interested neighbor.
For the US to, intentionally or not, fuel the antagonisms that have characterized Iran-Iraq relations to such tragic ends over the past quarter century seems to undermine its larger goals of Iraqi stability and regional peace.
Ellen Laipson is president of the Henry L. Stimson Center and was vice chairman of the National Intelligence Council, a US government strategic analysis center, from 1997 to 2002.
US officially informs Iran of national held in Guantanamo
TEHRAN: Irans foreign ministry said on Sunday it had been officially informed by the United States that one of its nationals detained in Afghanistan is being held at the Guantanamo Bay detention centre. We asked the Americans to give us information and they have done so, spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told reporters. He did not say how the matter was comminicated, but in the absence of diplomatic relations the two sides generally use the Swiss embassy in Tehran as an intermediary. But Asefi did say Tehran still did not have full details on the individual in question, and added we still have doubts that he is an Iranian. The prisoner, reported to be 25 years old, has been accused of fighting alongside Afghanistans Taliban militia, but has claimed he was merely in Afghanistan to buy stereo parts.
Death and the maiden in Iran
By Alasdair Palmer
Atefeh Rajabi appears to have been a fairly normal 16-year-old: sulky, disobedient, and eager to have sex. In London, those attributes earn lectures from parents and teachers on the importance of acting responsibly and not being offensive. In the city of Neka in Iran, where Atefeh Rajabi comes from, they get you hauled up in front of a judge.
Atefeh's typical teenage behaviour meant that she was charged and found guilty of "acts incompatible with chastity". The judge in the Islamic court ruled that the appropriate penalty was death. That's right: death. Her sentence was confirmed by Iran's Supreme Court.
Two weeks ago, on August 15, the 16-year-old girl was hung from a crane in the main square of Neka, in full public view, in order to keep "society safe from acts against public morality".
Sharia law, the Islamic code which is supposed to govern punishments in Iran, states that unmarried people who have sex should be punished with 100 lashes. That was the chastisement meted out to the single man with whom Atefeh was accused of "committing acts incompatible with chastity".
Married women who have sexual relations with someone who is not their husband should, according to Sharia, be stoned to death - although Iran's chief justice, apparently revolted by the cruelty of pelting women with rocks, ruled two years ago that stonings should be abandoned.
Hanging is not prescribed for either category of transgressor. So what was the judge (one Haji Rezaie) doing sentencing an "unchaste" 16-year-old to hang? He said that she had a "sharp tongue" and had "undressed in court".
It seems that all she did was to take off her headscarf and insist that she was the victim of an older man's advances: but even if she had stripped naked and called the judge a fat ignorant bastard, those actions would hardly merit death, even under Islamic law. Nevertheless, the judge was so outraged that he decided he would personally put the noose round the child's neck.
That disgraceful and disgusting "punishment" has excited a great deal of condemnation in Iran among the reformists. As far as I can see, it has not produced any comment here. Amnesty International issued a statement expressing outrage at the execution (the tenth of a child in Iran since 1990) - but no British newspaper or television station has reported this.
Why not? The two extremes of pro- and anti-Muslim sentiment in Britain are now united in not expecting even the most minimal ethical standards from Islamic countries such as Iran: the pros because they think that Islamic laws should not be criticised for fear of giving offence; the antis because they think all Muslims are just a bunch of irredeemable barbarians.
Those two extreme views have infected media coverage. What would be headline news if it happened in America (can you imagine the response if a 16-year-old girl was executed for having sex in Texas?) is, because it happens in an Islamic state, apparently too banal to count.
That attitude guarantees that more children will suffer Atefeh's fate. Of course, it suits our Government - which is pushing for greater trade links with our new-found ally, Iran - just fine if people think that criticism of Islamic judges is inappropriate because standards are different. But respecting Islam does not require accepting the judicial murder of 16-year-olds (or indeed anyone, of any age) for having sex. That's wrong wherever it happens. We need a Government, and a press, that says so.
Here is an article translated by TigerLikesRooster
Israel informed U.S. that, in order to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, she plans to bomb Busheher Nuclear Power Plant, under construction in Iran, if Russian-supplied fuel rods are put into its reactor(s.) The fuel rods are now at a Russian port, which are to be shipped in the first half of next year. 24 years ago, Israel's squadron of (F-15's and) F-16's bombed Iraq's Osirak Reactor which was being constructed using French technology, stopping Iraq's nuclear weapon's program on its track.
Will we see this again? Is the U.S. prepared to support the Iranian people this time to help unify the country against the regime and bring it down once and for all?
Hundreds of Thousands demonstrate against mandatory veil after the 1979 revolution in Iran.
Link for article, "1979 Hundreds of Thousands Iranian women protest mandatory veil [History w/ Pics]" (previous post)
I like the new 'Look' of the Thread.
Thanks for all your hard work.
Defense and Foreign Affairs Daily
Aug 27, 2004
Part of Strategic Analysis of Chief Editor Gregory Copley
That relates To Iran From GIS
|Last Update: 30/08/2004 16:49|
|Latest Iranian missile has upgraded warhead|
|By Ze'ev Schiff, Haaretz Correspondent|
The warhead of the Iranian Shihab-3 missile has been considerably upgraded, according to photographs published in Iranian newspapers of test launches three weeks ago. It is believed that the improvements will permit slower entry into the atmosphere so the warhead, which may be chemical in nature, will be more durable and its contents will be better protected. It is also believed that the missile's range has been extended.
|The operational and technological conclusions from the changes in the missile indicate that the Iranians are not resting on their laurels in developing their surface-to-surface missiles, and have shown a daring approach to their technological planning. It is very likely that the Iranians are being assisted by foreign experts from the former Soviet Union hired by Iran under personal contracts, or by experts from North Korea.
It is also likely that the Iranian effort is not limited to the Shihab-3, which has a range of about 1,300 kilometers, but also to the Shihab-4, planned with a range of 2,000 kilometers or more. At present the Shihab-3 can already come within range of Turkey, which is a member of NATO, as well as most Saudi cities and oil fields. On the last test of the Shihab-3 on August 11, the missile did not pass the maximum trajectory that had been determined for it.
The Iranians gave the experimental launch extensive media coverage, stressing that the test was a response to an Israeli experimental launch of the Arrow missile, which intercepted a Scud missile in the U.S. at the end of July.
It subsequently turned out that the reported success of the Shihab's launch was intended to camouflage a failure in the missile's flight early in the launch.
However the photographs published by the Iranians show several new details. In addition to the new warhead, the missile was fired from an operational vehicle and not from an ordinary surface launcher. In all the other Shihab 3 tests, the warhead was cone-shaped, but this time it has a new, flatter shape and appears to have various short wings.
Experts from various countries are expected to analyze the technological and operational aspects of the new form of the Shehab-3. It is especially interesting to several European countries, which understand that the day is not far when Iranian missiles will be within range of a considerable portion of Europe.
Edwards Says Kerry Would Give Iran A Nuclear `Bargain' [Excerpt]
August 30, 2004
Dow Jones Newswires
NEW YORK -- A John F. Kerry administration would propose to Iran that the Islamic state be allowed to keep its nuclear power plants in exchange for giving up the right to retain the nuclear fuel that could be used for bomb- making, Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards said in an interview, The Washington Post reports in its Monday edition.
Edwards said that if Iran failed to take what he called a "great bargain," it would essentially confirm that it is building nuclear weapons under the cover of a supposedly peaceful nuclear power initiative. According to the Post, he added that if elected, Kerry would ensure that European allies were prepared to join the United States in levying heavy sanctions if Iran rejected the proposal.
Edwards said that in Afghanistan, Kerry would push to expand NATO forces beyond Kabul to enhance security and would double the $123 million in funds to counter the drug trade that the administration spent in 2004 in Afghanistan, the Post reported. He said that despite the problems NATO has had in meeting its commitment in Afghanistan, Kerry would push NATO to add troops there and perhaps military equipment, but that the U.S. force of 20,000 would not be expanded.
Edwards Says Kerry Would Give Iran A Nuclear `Bargain' [Excerpt]
August 30, 2004
Dow Jones Newswires
|Business News »|
|Time is GMT + 8 hours
Posted: 30 August 2004 1427 hrs
Iran's transport minister accuses hardliners over airport closure
TEHRAN : Iran's reformist transport minister has accused the Islamic republic's hardline Revolutionary Guards of shutting down the capital's new airport as part of a wider campaign against foreign investment.
Tehran, Aug 30 - Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi said here on Sunday that Iran's decision toward a possible UN request to send peace-keeping troops to Iraq will depend on the establishment of a permanent government in the country.
"We have not made any such request and have neither received any request [to that effect]," Assefi told reporters in a news meeting.
"It is still too soon to judge Iraq's current situation, and one should wait for the establishment of a permanent government in the country to see how it wants other countries to be in Iraq."
Assefi's comments were raised just as Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Barham Saleh arrived in Tehran Saturday to discuss issues of mutual interest with Iranian officials.
Saleh, who is accompanied by Interior Minister Fallah al-Naqib and Minister of Transportation Behnam Zia Boulos, is reportedly visiting Tehran to make preparations for Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's trip to the Islamic Republic.
Monday, August 30, 2004; Page A18
JERUSALEM, Aug. 29 -- Israel and Iran traded significantly escalated threats of military attacks in recent months as the FBI investigated allegations that a Pentagon official passed secret U.S. policy information about Iran to Israeli authorities.
Israel has warned that it could launch strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities to thwart the country's advancing weapons program. In response, Iranian Gen. Yahya Rahim Safavi, commander of the Revolutionary Guards, said earlier this month: "If Israel should dare to attack our nuclear installations, we will come down on its head like a heavy hammer crushing its skull."
Since the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Israeli officials have expressed more concern about the danger Iran poses and have been more emboldened in their threats to quash it. But the espionage allegations, which surfaced Friday, prompted a wave of vehement denials, political angst and disbelief among Israeli officials, intelligence experts, diplomats and other political analysts.
"It's hard to see this as such an issue of controversy or disagreement that Israel would say, 'Break all the rules because we have to find out what they're doing,' " said Yossi Alpher, a former official in the Mossad, Israel's intelligence agency.
The FBI is investigating whether Lawrence A. Franklin, a career analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency who specializes in Iran, gave classified information to two lobbyists for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, known as AIPAC, according to sources. U.S. officials said the information, which included the draft of a presidential directive on U.S. policies toward Iran, was then given to Israeli officials. AIPAC has denied any wrongdoing and said its employees were cooperating with the inquiry.
Newsweek magazine reported on its Web site Sunday that FBI agents had monitored a conversation between an Israeli Embassy official and an AIPAC lobbyist at lunch nearly 18 months ago. Another American, later identified as Franklin, "walked in" during the session, according to the report. At the time the FBI was looking into possible Israeli espionage, Newsweek said.
The investigation is the second in recent months involving allegations of Israeli espionage against an ally. In July, a New Zealand court found two Israeli men, accused of being agents for the Mossad, guilty of attempting to forge New Zealand passports. Israeli officials denied that the men were members of the Mossad, but New Zealand's prime minister announced diplomatic sanctions against Israel and demanded an apology.
Michael Oren, an Israeli historian, said Israel would have very little to gain by spying on the United States "because the relationship is so open and giving."
"Israel and the United States see very much eye to eye on the Iran threat, and the intelligence cooperation is extremely close -- it's on an unprecedented level," Oren said. "Both countries perceive Iran's future acquisition of nuclear weapons as a grave threat to the region and the world, and both are committed to trying to prevent Iran from going nuclear."
For months, Israeli officials, including Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, have warned Iran that Israel was prepared to take what Mofaz called "the necessary steps" to eliminate its nuclear capability. In 1981, Israeli bombers destroyed Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor in an effort to curtail then-President Saddam Hussein's nuclear weapons program.
In recent weeks, Israel and Iran have stepped up their rhetoric. Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani told al-Jazeera Arab television network this month that "Iran is not Iraq -- we will not sit by idly if our nuclear reactor's installations are attacked."
Israeli defense and intelligence officials have said Iran's nuclear weapons development program, coupled with its Shihab-3 missile, which is capable of striking Israel, represent the most significant threat to Israel.
In a simulated test last Friday off the Californian coast, Israel's Arrow anti-ballistic missile system, which is designed to destroy or intercept short- and medium-range missiles, failed to stop a Shihab-3 and a Syrian Scud D, according to Israeli defense officials.
Mission to grab slice of Iranian trade
Aug 30 2004
By Staff Reporter, Birmingham Post
The White House may consider it part of the Axis of Evil but international trade knows no such distinctions.
West Midlands companies have until Wednesday to take advantage of an opportunity to get a foothold in the potentially lucrative Iranian market.
UK Trade & Investment, the Government's lead organisation for supporting British companies in overseas business, is organising a trade mission to Iran from 27 November to 3 December 2004, with the closing date for applications on Wednesday.
The mission is being organised by Allen Matty, an international trade adviser based at Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
"Iran is a difficult market for British companies to penetrate, although, if done successfully, it can be extremely rewarding," he said.
"The main areas of opportunities for UK firms are providing capital equipment to Iran's priority sectors, namely oil, gas and petrochemicals, mining, power, agriculture and the automotive industry.
"However, good opportunities exist in all sectors in Iran, particularly in healthcare and food processing."
Iran's geographical area is nearly seven times the size of the UK and it has a population of 64 million, with 12 million people living in the capital, Tehran. It is OPEC's second largest oil producer and holds nine per cent of oil reserves.
Companies taking part in the trade mission have been offered a grant of up to £650 from UK Trade & Investment towards travel costs. They will also benefit from a pre-mission briefing and a local briefing meeting by the commercial staff in the British Embassy in Iran.
Mr Matty will work closely with company representatives to prepare them for the mission, and will be on hand throughout the visit.
For further details, contact Birmingham International Trade Team on 0121 607 1755.
AUG. 30, 2004: JEWISH CONSPIRACIES IN THE PENTAGON?
NEW YORK - So all those left-wing kids taking media studies courses at college do seem actually to have learned something: The anti-Republican demonstraters who filed through Manhattan yesterday avoided disorder and violence to focus instead on creating powerful images for the evening news. Their message may be wrong-headed, but they did not step on it.
And the same can be said for whoever it was that leaked the story of the investigation of the alleged leak of a Pentagon planning document to a pro-Israel lobbying group. What a triumph of press manipulation this story is!
Somebody sold CBS News, NBC, and the Washington Post a grand conspiracy theory of sinister Zionist influence in the Pentagon based on well on what really? The theory alleges that
a) Two years ago, some Pentagon planners wrote a draft memo suggesting that the US adopt a tougher policy toward Iran;
b) One of those planners then supposedly informed a friend at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee about the memo who in turn informed the Israeli embassy.
Can we pause to consider what an amazing non-story all of this is?
The memo in question - a draft of a proposed presidential policy directive for Iran - was essentially rejected. The Bush administration has opted since 2001 for a policy of engagement and attempted compromise with Iran. For all practical purposes, the memo was an expression of something close to a purely personal opinion.
And even if the memo had been adopted, it involved no spycraft, no technical secrets. It simply offered a vision of what US policy toward Iran ought to be: a series of policy options.
Discussing policy options with knowledgeable people and even with allied governments is not espionage.
Which is why, after 18 months of investigation, the investigators were about to drop the matter. It looks as if whoever leaked the story of the investigation leaked it precisely because he or she was annoyed that the investigators were concluding that the whole thing was much ado about nothing.
But by cleverly shopping it to journalists who were eager to strike a blow at the Bush administration, a fizzle of a story was (at least temporarily) transformed into a one-day wonder.
Who shopped it? Presumably somebody at the FBI an agency that has alas showed nothing like so much vigilance in cases in which life and limb were actually at risk. Along the way, however, the story got sexed up, to borrow a phrase.
Here are some steamy extracts from CBS report:
CBS News has learned that the FBI has a full-fledged espionage investigation under way and is about to -- in FBI terminology roll up someone agents believe has been spying not for an enemy, but for Israel from within the office of the Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon.
This put the Israelis, according to one source, inside the decision-making loop so they could try to influence the outcome.
The case raises another concern among investigators: Did Israel also use the analyst to try to influence U.S. policy on the war in Iraq?
With ties to top Pentagon officials Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith, the analyst was assigned to a unit within the Defense Department tasked with helping develop the Pentagon's Iraq policy.
Notice a couple of things in the CBS report: The story is written in such a way as to suggest that it was the FBI investigators who described the Israelis as inside the loop. And yet if you look carefully, you will see that this is not so. The allegation is attributed only to a source who might or might not even be a government employee who is in fact very likely one of the small number of former government employees to whom journalists turn when they want some heavy breathing about the role of Israel.
Notice too the gratuitous and unsourced insinuation that Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith might somehow be implicated in the leak.
What seems to be going on here is this: People in the Pentagon broadly discussed proposed American policy toward one of Americas severest Middle Eastern problems Iran, its terrorism and its nuclear ambitions. In the course of those discussions, they talked to knowledgeable people in many places. Possibly they talked as well to knowledgeable people in the governments of US allies, including Israel.
But there are figures inside the US government who want to see Israel treated, not as the ally it is by law and treaty (Israel like Japan, Australia, and New Zealand is designated a major non-NATO ally for intelligence- and technology-sharing purposes) but as the source of all the trouble in the Middle East and the world. They have injected their own hysterical agenda into the reporting of what would otherwise be a story of an FBI investigation that found nothing much.
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