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gollum

Covert missions in Iran

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gollum

World Terrorism & Security

posted January 18, 2004, updated 12:42 p.m.

US covert military operations in Iran?

The US, Pakistan, Iran all criticize Hersh's latest bombshell – for different reasons.

By Matthew Clark | csmonitor.com

Seymour Hersh – the same investigative journalist who, last year, provided readers with some of the first shocking reports of prison abuse at Abu Ghraib – has dropped another bombshell.

In next week's edition of New Yorker magazine, he focuses on US covert military operations in South Asia, particularly Iran.

In the article, posted on the Internet Monday, Mr. Hersh reported that President Bush "has signed a series of findings and executive orders authorizing secret commando groups and other Special Forces units to conduct covert operations against suspected terrorist targets in as many as ten nations in the Middle East and South Asia."

Hersh also reported that US special forces have been operating inside Iran for over six months, selecting suspected weapons sites for possible air strikes.

The Administration has been conducting secret reconnaissance missions inside Iran at least since last summer. Much of the focus is on the accumulation of intelligence and targeting information on Iranian nuclear, chemical, and missile sites, both declared and suspected. The goal is to identify and isolate three dozen, and perhaps more, such targets that could be destroyed by precision strikes and short-term commando raids. "The civilians in the Pentagon want to go into Iran and destroy as much of the military infrastructure as possible," the government consultant with close ties to the Pentagon told me.

The Department of Defense blasted the report. Pentagon spokesman Larry DiRita issued a statement saying the article "is so riddled with errors of fundamental fact that the credibility of his entire piece is destroyed."

Mr. Hersh's source(s) feed him with rumor, innuendo, and assertions about meetings that never happened, programs that do not exist, and statements by officials that were never made. ...

By his own admission, Mr. Hersh evidently is working on an 'alternative history' novel. He is well along in that work, given the high quality of 'alternative present' that he has developed in several recent articles.

Mr. Hersh's preference for single, anonymous, unofficial sources for his most fantastic claims makes it difficult to parse his discussion of Defense Department operations.

The Pentagon, however, did not dispute what Agence France-Presse calls the "central claim" of the piece: that Mr. Bush has authorized US commandos to conduct covert operations against suspected terrorist targets in as many as 10 nations, including Iran.

But, in the first official Iranian reaction to Hersh's article, Supreme National Security Council spokesman Ali Aghamohammadi said it would be naive to imagine American spies could carry out secret reconnaissance missions inside the country, reports the BBC. He also called the report psychological warfare, according to the BBC.

The Tehran Times writes that "the US and its allies have used all their espionage tricks to obtain information about Iran but have never succeeded and will never succeed in discovering Iran's real military might." The same editorial asserts that Hersh's piece is part of a US psychological campaign.

Therefore, [Hersh's] new claim, which is part of the White House's psychological operations against Tehran and which has also not been completely rejected, can only be interpreted as a ridiculous bluff meant to deflect attention from the US failure in regard to Iran.

Ehsan Ahrari, a US-based independent strategic analyst writing in Asia Times Online, also floats this theory.

There is also an outside chance that Hersh might have been given this story as a larger campaign of the US to forewarn Iran about the consequences of developing nuclear weapons.

In remarks published Tuesday, one day after Bush refused to rule out a military option against Iran, the semi-official Iranian Mehr news agency quoted Iran's defense minister Ali Shamkhani as saying on Tuesday: "We are able to say that we have strength such that no country can attack us because they do not have precise information about our military capabilities due to our ability to implement flexible strategies."

"We can claim that we have rapidly produced equipment that has resulted in the greatest deterrent," he said, without elaborating.

Hersh's article also asserts that the US has been working with Pakistani sources to gain information used in operations in eastern Iran.

...[a] former high-level intelligence official told me that an American commando task force has been set up in South Asia and is now working closely with a group of Pakistani scientists and technicians who had dealt with Iranian counterparts. (In 2003, the IAEA disclosed that Iran had been secretly receiving nuclear technology from Pakistan for more than a decade, and had withheld that information from inspectors.) The American task force, aided by the information from Pakistan, has been penetrating eastern Iran from Afghanistan in a hunt for underground installations.

Pakistan has denied these claims. "There is no such collaboration. We do not have much information on Iran's nuclear program," said Masood Khan, a spokesman for the Pakistani foreign office.

"This report is far-fetched and it exaggerates facts which do not exist in the first place."

The conservative New York Post casts doubt on Hersh's credibility as a reporter, but says it hopes his report is correct.

When Seymour Hersh writes, an extra-large grain of salt is called for. And yet ... well, this is one time we hope Hersh's reporting is correct. ...

(Hersh also claims that there has been close coordination of US efforts with Israel – though the Pentagon says flatly that such cooperation "does not exist."

(Again, though, we hope that Hersh is correct – because the Israelis, who have been tracking Iran's nuclear threat since long before the rest of the world took it seriously, certainly has some expertise in this regard.)

Whether Hersh's reporting is right – or whether, even if right, it's part of a huge strategic bluff by Washington – remains to be seen.

Here is Hersh's claim about cooperation with Israel:

There has also been close, and largely unacknowledged, cooperation with Israel. The government consultant with ties to the Pentagon said that the Defense Department civilians, under the leadership of Douglas Feith, have been working with Israeli planners and consultants to develop and refine potential nuclear, chemical-weapons, and missile targets inside Iran.

Hersh also reported in the article that the Pentagon is revising its war plans for a possible invasion against Iran.

The Pentagon's contingency plans for a broader invasion of Iran are also being updated. Strategists at the headquarters of the US Central Command, in Tampa, Florida, have been asked to revise the military's war plan, providing for a maximum ground and air invasion of Iran.

Source

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Fluffybunny

As soon as Iraq stablizes(To the best degree Iraq can stablize), I can assure you that Iraq will be used as a jumping off point for the US to go into Iran and start it all over again.

It will happen, I have no doubt.

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Athenian

The instigator of WWIII shall deffinatly be an Asian country...

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Stellar

People say we should have assassinated SH and destroyed his WMDs without a war... I wonder what those same people say about this?

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gollum

I totally agree Fluffs. If, given what erikl posted, about the nuclear capability of Iran, is true.

A question though. Just how much manpower does the USA think it can muster?

Edited by gollum

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Fluffybunny
A question though. Just how much manpower does the USA think it can muster?

463558[/snapback]

It depends on who you ask.

If you ask a soldier in Iraq; not much more than what we are doing right now, and not much longer as resources are being depleted rather rapidly...

If you ask president Bush; He'd ask how many 18-34 year olds there are that could be drafted and then get back to you... rolleyes.gif

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morpheas

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gollum
If you ask president Bush; He'd ask how many 18-34 year olds there are that could be drafted and then get back to you... 

LMAO w00t.gif So true....

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Stellar

They cant do it with only draftees, they need the combat experienced troops from Iraq. Hmm, makes me think, maybe Iraq was meant to be a training ground in Bushs mind?

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morpheas

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gollum

And this is the response from Minister Ali Yunesi.......

Iran Warns Against U.S. Attack

24 January 2005 -- Iranian officials have issued new warnings that any United States attack on the Islamic Republic would be a major strategic mistake.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told a briefing that Iran believes the chance of a U.S. attack to be low, and described recent U.S. comments as a "psychological war."

Intelligence Minister Ali Yunesi said a U.S. attack on Iran would be a massive mistake.

He said planes have been detected flying over Iran to conduct espionage for the United States, and warned that "every action has a reaction."

Yunesi also said that U.S. commandos had not entered Iran for covert reconnaissance missions. He described U.S. commandos as "chicks" who would rapidly be picked up by Iranian "eagles" if they came to Iran.

U.S. President George W. Bush recently said military action had not been ruled out to deal with Iran's nuclear program, while Vice President Dick Cheney said Iran tops the world's trouble spots and warned that Israel could decide to bomb Iran's nuclear facilities.

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Mekorig

As i said in another post, in the case of the USA attacking Iran, the things will not be soo easy has in Iraq, and i can see the use of WMD from both sides.

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Stellar
As i said in another post, in the case of the USA attacking Iran, the things will not be soo easy has in Iraq, and i can see the use of WMD from both sides.

463902[/snapback]

In that case, it'll be quite easy. Iran uses WMDs against US soldiers, US nukes the country. Nothing left to fight for.

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Mekorig

Yep, thats wht i fear...bacause the global situation will go for the serwer after that....

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morpheas

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Gmac1000
As i said in another post, in the case of the USA attacking Iran, the things will not be soo easy has in Iraq, and i can see the use of WMD from both sides.

463902[/snapback]

In that case, it'll be quite easy. Iran uses WMDs against US soldiers, US nukes the country. Nothing left to fight for.

463909[/snapback]

Well put Stellar.... thumbsup.gif

Edited by Gmac1000

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morpheas

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Stellar

you really dont have an ounce of compassion in your body do you?? nuking a country like that would kills millions and millions of people, but its just statistics as far as your concerned.

****ing hell, I never said the US SHOULD nuke the country, I said that the USs policy is to use WMDs if WMDs are used against it, and if they use it, theres no more people to fight.

im going crazy here, am i the only one who doesnt want to play around with nukes and incite wars which will possibly kill thousands if not millions of innocent people???

Im not saying they would, Im saying if they follow their policy and use them in retaliation to a strike by Iran.

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The Caspian Hare
If you ask president Bush; He'd ask how many 18-34 year olds there are that could be drafted and then get back to you...

That's BS and you know it. He's explicitly said he will not ask Congress to expand the military, much less institute a draft. The DOD doesn't even want a draft, and it's politically untenable anyway. Quite propagating this rubbish.

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Homer
If you ask president Bush; He'd ask how many 18-34 year olds there are that could be drafted and then get back to you...

That's BS and you know it. He's explicitly said he will not ask Congress to expand the military, much less institute a draft. The DOD doesn't even want a draft, and it's politically untenable anyway. Quite propagating this rubbish.

464216[/snapback]

The U.S. certainly doesn't have the manpower to fight a conventional war overseas against a nation the size and strength of Iran, even if Iran doesn't have nukes.

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Kismit

I have a question ,

Isn't Iran currently under Russian supervision ? (wrong word I know , but bear with me for a bit ) I can't see the Russians being overly happy about the whole thing . Then again I don't see that stopping George , but I won't bore you with my opinions of that loathsome little rat .

Edited by Kismit

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joc
Then again I don't see that stopping George , but I won't bore you with my opinions of that loathsome little rat .

Uh....I think you just did tongue.gif

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Homer
I have a question ,

Isn't Iran currently under Russian supervision ? (wrong word I know , but bear with me for a bit ) I can't see the Russians being overly happy about the whole thing . Then again I don't see that stopping George , but I won't bore you with my opinions of that loathsome little rat .

464286[/snapback]

Nope.

Iran doesn't fall under Russia's sphere of influence, although they are friendly with each other.

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joc
The U.S. certainly doesn't have the manpower to fight a conventional war overseas against a nation the size and strength of Iran, even if Iran doesn't have nukes.

Quite correct. However, given the elections take place and go well in Iraq....let us fantasize for a moment here that in a year or two or three or so, Iraq is stable and rebuilds a strong military and is a thriving democracy; isn't it plausible that Iraq may see itself as a part of the 'coalition of the willing' and have a large interest in the 'democratization' of Iran as well as Syria? A well trained Iraqi army with US backing would dramatically reduce the number of US ground troops needed to topple the Iranian government. What do you think? huh.gif

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Fluffybunny
If you ask president Bush; He'd ask how many 18-34 year olds there are that could be drafted and then get back to you...

That's BS and you know it. He's explicitly said he will not ask Congress to expand the military, much less institute a draft. The DOD doesn't even want a draft, and it's politically untenable anyway. Quite propagating this rubbish.

464216[/snapback]

Bush also said that Saddam had stockpiles of WMD too...and links to 9/11... rolleyes.gif I trust him about as far as I could throw him...

Numbers do not lie. You believe whatever you choose but we do not have the resources to fight the level of war that we are currently fighting for more than another year or so, let alone any action in Iran. The soldiers have to come from somewhere...

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