Revolution#135, July 13, 2008
From A World to Win News Service
U.S. Journalist Exposes Further American Moves Against Iran
June 30, 2008. A World to Win News Service. The American journalist Seymour Hersh has sounded the alarm about “a major escalation of covert operations against Iran, according to current and former military, intelligence and congressional sources.” Writing in the current issue of The New Yorker (July 7), this well-known antiwar journalist with long-standing high level sources in the U.S. government and especially the military revealed two main points about these new moves:
- The U.S. military (Special Operations Forces) have “significantly expanded” cross-border raids from Iraq into Iran since late last year, including kidnapping Iranian military officers (the Al-Quds arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard) and taking them to Iraq for “interrogation.” The U.S. is also stepping up its covert work with armed ethnic and religious opposition forces within Iran.
- The expansion of this latter program was secretly authorized “late last year” by the U.S. Congress leadership, now controlled by the Democratic Party, whose candidate Barack Obama claims to represent an alternative to the Bush regime’s war policies.
U.S.-Sponsored Kidnapping, Bombings and Assassinations
Congressional leaders agreed to fund this covert escalation, Hersh says, after they were shown a highly classified document called a Presidential Finding signed by President George W. Bush, legally necessary to authorize a covert CIA program. Bush claims that unlike the CIA, the U.S. military’s Special Ops activities are not legally subject to Congressional oversight, so that it can be presumed that a major purpose of the Finding is to broaden CIA work with organizations and individuals within Iran. According to Hersh’s sources, “the overall authority includes killing.”
Hersh says that the U.S. is now going further than ever in fostering attacks on the Shia Islamic Iranian regime by minority groups in Iran, including Iranian Kurdish forces, Iranian Arabs and the most emphasized movement in this report, the Baluchi Sunni Islamist fundamentalist group Jundallah.
On June 20, the Jundallah said it had executed two Iranian police and kidnapped 14 others, taking them to the Baluchi region in Pakistan, on the other side of the Iranian border. Last year the U.S. television chain ABC “quoted U.S. and Pakistani intelligence officials as saying that Jundallah members have been ‘encouraged and advised’ by American officials since 2005.” (Washington Post, June 20)
Other recent armed attacks linked to U.S. support have taken place in Iranian Kurdistan, and the Iranian city of Shiraz, where a culture center was bombed. Hersh quotes a covert intelligence operative on the Pentagon’s successful use in Pakistan and Afghanistan of “false flag” operations—CIA work carried out through groups that may not even be aware that they are being manipulated by the U.S. The source argues that such operations won’t work in Iran, and may backfire. (Although he doesn’t discuss them, among other results, they could further destabilize the Pakistan regime, which has been a key American regional ally.) He explains, “There is huge opposition within the intelligence community to the [White House] idea of waging a covert war inside Iran and using Baluchis and Ahwazis [Iranian Arabs] as surrogates.”
Consensus and Contention in the U.S. Ruling Class
The New Yorker article emphasizes opposition from within the U.S. military to a “preemptive” strike on Iran in the next few months, which, according to other reports, U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney advocates. Following publication of the Hersh piece, ABC News (June 30) quoted “a senior [U.S.] defense official” as saying that Israel is anxious to attack before Iran sets up the advanced air defense system it is buying from Russia, which would make an aerial strike more difficult. The ABC source worries that unleashing Israel to do the U.S.’s dirty work might “cause major problems in the region and beyond,” while doing little damage to the Iranian regime.
Hersh interviewed Admiral William Fallon, who under White House pressure, recently resigned from heading the U.S. Central Command in charge of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and potentially Iran. His disagreements with the Bush circle were twofold, involving presidential interference in the military chain of command, and, related to that, whether an immediate U.S. attack on Iran would be able to achieve its goals or, instead, would be a disaster. The U.S. current military chiefs are against such an action, Hersh’s sources told him.
At the same time, the Congressional leadership’s agreement for the Finding, and the as much as $400 million funding for these moves that went with it, shows a great deal about a certain consensus operating within the U.S. ruling class, in terms of what all leading politicians call “keeping all options on the table,” in other words, mounting military as well as other sorts of pressure on the Iranian regime and attacking it if necessary to achieve U.S. regional and global aims. Similarly, despite some ambiguous promises of an early end to the Iraq war by Democratic candidate Obama, last week the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate voted to approve the Bush administration’s requested funding to continue that war as well, along with the one in Afghanistan.
Like earlier Hersh scoops, Hersh obtained his information from within the high ranks of the military itself. Congressional forces, both Republicans and Democrats, seem better than the military at keeping these moves secret. The Congressional consensus on the need to keep the masses of people in the U.S. out of the political picture is, like the military’s hesitations about the chances of battlefield success, another indication of the potentially dangerous consequences of a U.S. attack on Iran for the American rulers themselves.
A World to Win News Service is put out by A World to Win magazine (aworldtowin.org), a political and theoretical review inspired by the formation of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement, the embryonic center of the world’s Marxist-Leninist-Maoist parties and organizations.
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