Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Israel And Iran Scramble In The Shadows....but Putin sells the S300s to IRAN...

Israel And Iran Scramble In The Shadows....but Putin sells the S300s to IRAN... Israel objects for show....because Putin always sells Arabs "sophisticated air defense systems", then turns around and gives MOSSAD all the necessary "Codes" and electronic tags...which will ensure that the system will not protect any country in times of war and invasions by Israeli Air Force, which will have at its disposal all the countermeasures to block these systems dead in its tracks. Latest case in point, the attack on Syria's facility in Dair Al-Zour, and I am sure that Putin has done the same with Iranian air defense systems bought from Russia.

December 16, 2008: Israeli intelligence organization Mossad has failed in its campaign to sabotage Iran's nuclear weapons program. So far. Six years ago, Mossad said it would stop the Iranian efforts to build nukes. Mossad admitted that it had devoted a substantial portion of its resources to that effort since then. This included establishing companies that appeared to be willing to supply Iran with essential equipment they needed. This had some success in slipping specially modified gear into Iranian nuclear weapons facilities.

For example, Iran recently revealed that an Israeli spy they recently executed had allowed Israeli technicians to install special electronic equipment in computer equipment the spy bought for the Iranian government. The deceased spy, Ali Ashtari, procured legal, and illegal (barred by one of the many export sanctions directed at Iran) computer equipment for the Iranian government. But the Israelis paid more, and that enabled the Israelis to, in effect, install special components that enabled them to monitor what the Iranians were doing with some of the equipment that Ashtari obtained. Apparently, Ashtari did not know all the details of just what the Israelis installed in the imported computers and other electronic equipment. The Israeli "additions" apparently enabled Iranian weapons and technology developments to be monitored. The Iranians did not comment on what they are doing to get rid of all the Israeli modified gear they are using.

This effort was apparently one of the few successes in the Mossad effort. But Iran has, in the meantime, made steady progress in developing nuclear weapons. Mossad is not, obviously, discussing all of its efforts, and there may be other operations that have infiltrated the Iranian nuclear program, but have not yet bore fruit. So the Mossad operation may still succeed.

But in the meantime, Mossad has apparently had another failure. Israel has been trying to prevent Russia from delivering S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems to Iran. The S-300 is similar to the U.S. Patriot system, which makes an Israeli effort to bomb Iranian facilities much more dangerous, and potentially impossible. Israel has apparently delayed Russian efforts to sell the S-300 to Iran, but recent reports indicate the deal is on again. It may be off again in another few weeks.....

It's just another challenge for Mossad, in a battle that won't be over until Iran detonates its first nuke, and maybe not even then (building a reliable missile warhead or air-dropped bomb is quite an engineering feat.)....

Iran and dirty bombs...

Dirty bombs. There is definitely something Orwellian about this term, which gives the impression that the far more deadly nuclear bombs are cleaner, more respectable, reminding one of how United States military planners who dropped the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan in World War II had kept those cities "virgin". That is, without the prior taint of bombardments to do a precision analysis of the atomic explosions. In military lexicon, the sanitized often stand for the horrific and vice versa, just as truth and falsehood stand on their head in George Orwell's 1984.

At year's end, lest we forget exactly one year ago the US
government released its National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran that caused a firestorm of controversy by its conclusion that Iran had since 2003 not pursued a nuclear weapons program. A chief architect of that report, Thomas Fingar, is stepping down and has defended the NIE report, telling the Washington Times that he "stands by that estimate".

Little wonder then, that Iran fear-mongers in the US are now desperately seeking any scintilla of evidence to disprove the NIE, to force the US intelligence community to recant or revise its important conclusions, and also hoping to find new hammers with which to beat Iran on the head; seemingly some of them have settled on the next best alternative, Iran's threat of dirty bombs.

A figment of the author's imagination? Hardly, all one needed to do was listen to the blistering Iran-phobic rhetoric at a recent conference of mayors held by the American Jewish Congress that was well timed with growing anxieties about Iran's "cunning mullahs" resorting to dirty bombs.

At the same time, there have been a number of reports focusing on precisely this threat, one being about an Iranian merchant ship hijacked by Somali pirates; the ship has been described by some Israeli reports as a "giant floating dirty bomb" that had been on its way to the coastal waters of Israel with the sinister intention of detonating and covering a vast swath of Israeli towns and cities with "radioactive sand" - assuming that Mother Nature would cooperate by sending the winds in the right, or rather wrong, direction.

This is pure rubbish and reflects another Orwellian disinformation ploy to smear Iran, at a time when Washington neo-conservatives are on the defensive after the recent presidential elections and, as in a new report by the conservative Heritage Foundation, dread president-elect Barack Obama's idea of dialogue with Tehran without any preconditions. Perhaps the purpose of this new disinformation is to impose a whole new demand on Iran that ostensibly no one in the new White House could possibly disagree with: Iran must not manufacture dirty bombs.

But, where is the evidence that Iran is in any way in the business of making dirty bombs? So far, the only answer is, much like the one on the nuclear threat, simply that Iran has the "capability" to do so.

Never mind that dirty bombs can be made by using material from literally tens of thousands of sources used in doctors' offices, food-processing plants, hospitals, laboratories, mines, factories, etc. According to a Harvard nuclear expert, Matthew Bunn, a powerful dirty bomb can be made out of "machines that kill bacteria in food processing plants". A US website on nuclear issues informs us that even "medical supplies ... used in cancer treatment" can be used to make dirty bombs, as well as material used in metallurgy, and in mining, not to mention the tens of thousand of "well-loggers" that are currently in use around the world, many of which use radioactive material.

Some of the US media now want us to focus on one of the most sophisticated versions of those well-loggers that could make a "nasty" neutron bomb that, with sufficient explosive, could contaminate "several city blocs". This is the storyline of a high-profile, widely-quoted article in the Boston Globe [1] that is full of harsh words for an international oil service company for its sin of "sidestepping sanctions" and potentially imperiling US national security by providing Iran with a high-tech drilling tool called the azimuthal density neutron tool. Implicit in this is that "terrorist-sponsoring" Iranians cannot be trusted with this tool and the article goes to great pains in establishing the need in the US to "close the loopholes" that allow the export of such technology by international firms.

Using this argument, there should be a call to ban from Iran all medical sterilization equipment, or thousands of pieces of other equipment, such as those used in food irradiation plants. In a word, practically everything that can possibly be misused by Iran to make dirty bombs.

In its pure form, this Iran-phobia is relatively straightforward and has figured out answers for every question, such as why would Iranians risk using those bombs when they know that their targets would strike back, perhaps 10 or 100 times harder at them? Answer: it's their salvific, martyristic ideology, one that makes them impervious to their own destruction for the sake of the greater divine cause. Underlying this is that there should be no appeasement with Iran.

Such narratives as the Globe's fall by the wayside when one confronts their silences on pertinent counter-facts as well as their one-sided presentation of "expert" views. A case in point, the Globe article is silent on relevant history, that is, the fact that Iran did not use chemical weapons on Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, despite the deaths and injuries of tens of thousands of Iranians as a result of Iraq's use of chemical weapons. Iran did not do so not because that did not make military sense, it did, but rather because it was prohibited by the country's religious ideology that, militant and all, contains elements of religious humanism.

Shi'ite humanism, this is the great unknown in the West today, which has been completely sold to the Iran-phobic false image of Iranians as "militant", "revolutionary" and so on, without realizing that underneath the militant or revolutionary facade there is also an Islamist "reverence for life" principle that militates against weapons of mass destruction.

As a result of this ignorance, Western pundits have portrayed the Iranian regime as engaging in public deception by issuing a religious declaration, fatwa, against weapons of mass destruction, attributing this instead to a Shi'ite practice of dissimulation, taghieh, which Shi'ism developed as a repressed minority facing persecution for centuries. Thus, misinterpreting taghieh goes hand-in-hand with misinterpreting the post-revolutionary regime's embrace of Shi'ite humanism, a double mistake seen in the writings of, among others, Harvard nuclear expert Graham Allison.

Yet, what Allison and other Western pundits overlook is that the norm-binding fatwa by Iran's supreme religious leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has significant ramifications for the community of believers in Iran and the followers of the ayatollah simply do not distinguish between one or another fatwa, but rather treat them equally as issuing certain obligations on them. In other words, if it were a mere case of state expediency, and Iran was actively pursuing a nuclear bomb, the ayatollah would never have gone as far as putting his seal on a fatwa that forbids the manufacturing, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons (deemed explicitly as anti-humanity, zede bashariyat).

On a broader level, this fatwa is part and parcel of the Islamic revolution's weltanschauung, world-view, that can be better understood philosophically as a (Edmund) Husserlian "world-disclosing subjectivity", one that is religious humanist to the core. This is reflected in Iran's constitution's mandating support for liberation movements, and Iranian leaders' constant lament about global injustice, reflecting Iran's Shi'ite version of a religious humanist liberation theology.

This brings us back to the subject of dirty bombs and the Boston Globe article that operates on a basic false assumption about today's Iran, as a terroristic state that feeds and supports other terrorists, etc. One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter, and it would obviously be too much to expect the newspaper to question the official Washington line that designates such groups enjoying mass support as terrorist pure and simple, or to pin the same label on Israel. As American author Noam Chomsky has aptly put it, Israel is usually exonerated of its "terrorism" by depicting its actions as acts of "self-defense".

Does Israel have dirty bombs? The Globe article does not address this issue, yet that is a relevant question that may be linked to the above-mentioned propaganda about the hijacked Iranian ship. Israel may be looking for more pretexts to attack Iran, now that Bush is on his way out and about to be replaced by a less hawkish president who might one day even agree to a public debate with an Iranian leader.

Who knows, maybe in the closing window of the next month or so, before Obama is sworn in on January 20, Israel senses an opportunity to pull off something spectacular against Iran. The Israelis are the masters of pre-emptive strikes and now the twin fears of nuclear and dirty bombs have sufficiently rattled the Israeli public to rally them behind any military campaign launched against Iran's "mad mullahs".

The Israelis have recently said they might go it alone without the US, and the issue is whether the US could stand up to Israel. This partly depends on how successful the Orwellian Iran-phobic spin proves to be, seeing that when it comes to Iran-bashing, the sky is limit; a recent Wall Street Journal piece raises the specter of a single Iranian outerspace detonation sending the US "back to the 19th century".

In comparison, the Globe article shows that with potentially deadly well-cloggers operating in Iran, although under foreign control, even the deep underground is not the limit. The evisceration of any limits in demonizing the "hostile other" is after all 1984's greatest insight. Note
1. Oil firm sidesteps sanctions on Iran.