Aletho News



By Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett | Race for Iran | January 13th, 2012
Iranian Scientist Killed January 11, Fars News Agency Photo

A rising tide of commentary attributes the most recent assassination of a scientist connected with Iran’s nuclear or missile programs—and perhaps previous killings of Iranian scientists—to Israel.  The Obama Administration has publicly disavowed any involvement in the killings.  Today, Mark Perry published an important article, see here, citing multiple current and retired U.S. intelligence officials as saying that what the Iranian government, several other foreign governments, and any number of Western journalists have perceived as clandestine U.S. support for the Balochi separatist group, Jundallah, is, in fact, a “false flag” operation conducted by Israel’s Mossad without Washington’s approval.

We know and respect Mark Perry, and we do not question his reporting on his contacts and conversations with current and former U.S. intelligence officials.  However, in order to assess U.S. involvement in the ongoing covert war against the Islamic Republic, it is important to put Mark’s story in a wider context. We have written, on multiple occasions, see here, here and here, about America’s dangerous dance with Jundallah and, more broadly, anti-Iranian covert action.  That the Obama Administration is now trying to distance itself from some aspects of this dance, by fobbing it off on Israel (to be sure, anything but an innocent party), does not extricate it from its past decisions or current actions.

First, that Israel was (and still may be) conducting a false flag operation using Jundallah to carry out lethal attacks inside Iran does not say anything, in itself, about possible U.S. support for the group.  Prior Western media reporting on the issue indicates that U.S. support for Jundallah was “indirect”—meaning that, as with Nicaraguan contras in the 1980s, Washington relied on third parties to deliver funding to Jundallah.  Moreover, Perry’s sources say that, since the United States learned about this Israeli false flag operation, neither the Bush Administration nor the Obama Administration has done anything to convey its displeasure to Israel.  So, one must ask, just how displeased is official Washington?

Second, Washington’s handling of Jundallah’s designation as a foreign terrorist organization remains highly suspicious.  Mark’s sources, as well as our own contacts, in the U.S. government, indicate that U.S. intelligence has had sufficient information on Jundallah to warrant its designation as a foreign terrorist organization for years. Yet, both the George W. Bush Administration and the Obama Administration refrained from doing so.  In fact, the Obama Administration reviewed the question in detail in February 2009 and again later that year.  But, while the Administration designated the Kurdish separatist group PJAK (primarily as a gesture to Turkey, although PJAK has also acted against Iran), it refused to designate Jundallah.  U.S. officials have told us that the reason was ongoing interest in maintaining Jundallah as an anti-Iranian card.  Washington only designated Jundallah in November 2010, months after Iran had captured and executed its leader.

Third, Mark’s sources say that within weeks of taking office, the Obama Administration “drastically scaled back joint U.S.-Israel intelligence programs targeting Iran.”  We are skeptical that this claim is correct; if the Obama Administration had taken such a decision, the Netanyahu government (which took office in 2009), would almost certainly have leaked it as a way of pressuring Washington.  But, even if the claim is correct, as the Administration was supposedly ratcheting down its anti-Iranian intelligence activities with Israel, it was ratcheting up its unilateral intelligence activities against the Islamic Republic, primarily through the U.S. military.  In May 2010, the New York Times reported on a “Joint Unconventional Warfare Task Force Execute Order”, signed by then CENTCOM commander General David Petraeus in September 2009 authorizing the sending of U.S. Special Operations personnel to Iran “to gather intelligence about the country’s nuclear program” and “identify dissident groups that might be useful for a future military offensive.”

Since early in Obama’s presidency, we have criticized, see here, his initial decision to continue the anti-Iranian covert programs he inherited from President Bush, comparing his lack of strategic vision to the statesmanship of President Richard Nixon—who, on coming to the White House in 1969, ordered the CIA to stand down from a longstanding covert action program in Tibet, to show Beijing that he was serious about rapprochement with the People’s Republic of China.  For all that parts of the Obama Administration are trying to distance themselves from particularly outrageous Israeli operations, Obama’s overall policy on anti-Iranian covert action continues to head in the wrong direction.

And, in terms of distancing itself from outrageous actions, we think that the Obama Administration could very easily show its seriousness on the point.  As Paul Pillar points out, see here, “the killing of an individual foreigner overseas, if carried out for a political or policy purpose by either a non-state actor or clandestine agents of a state is an act of international terrorism”, according to U.S. law.  So, Secretary of State Clinton should announce that, if the United States identifies any group involved in caring out politically-motivated murders inside Iran, it will designate that group as a foreign terrorist organization.  Furthermore, if the United States identifies any foreign government carrying out, instigating, or facilitating politically-motivated murders inside Iran, it will designate that government as a state sponsor of terrorism.

January 15, 2012 - Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, War Crimes


  1. Terrorism is when the target is a random civilian and where the sought after effect is one where the general public is put into a state of abstract fear (terror)…

    Whether or not innocent civilians are hit isn’t the defining factor of whether an attack is a legitimate military attack or an act of terrorism… In fact, the Geneva Conventions allow incidental “collateral damage” provided two concepts (distinction and proportionality) are adhered to…

    Distinction: this concept basically requires that the intended target be “distinct”…

    Proportionality: this concept basically requires that attack (and it’s possible “collateral damage”) be proportional to the military advantage being sought…

    For example, targeting a specific person of military value is legitimate… However, if this person is of low military value and the “collateral damage” is substantial then the attack is in breach of the Geneva Convention… Conversely, if this person is of substantial military value then even the fact that the “collateral damage” is substantial will not change the fact the attack is within the scope of legitimate military action according to the Geneva Convention…


    Comment by Hans | January 15, 2012

    • So Hans, you would then agree with someone who claimed that blowing up instructors at Ben Gurion is not terrorism?


      Comment by aletho | January 15, 2012

  2. Instructors of what exactly?


    Comment by Hans | January 15, 2012

    • Any of the hard sciences would do.


      Comment by aletho | January 15, 2012

      • In other words any academic person in Israel… That definition would not meet the “distinction” requirement… Furthermore, blowing up people at Ben Gurion airport would most probably violate the “proportionality” requirement…


        Comment by Hans | January 16, 2012

        • I’m referring to Ben Gurion University. And yes, they do research on technologies there that are applied to WMDs.


          Comment by aletho | January 16, 2012

  3. Hans, the “rules” you are citing are directives that apply to military engagement. As far as I know no declaration of war has been made upon Iran by Israel or the USA or vice-versa and the people on the motor-bike who planted the bomb on the car of the scientist were not military personnel; nor was the scientist.
    What are you trying to say in fact? It’s OK to unlawfully kill (i.e. murder) civilians belonging to a foreign state who may one day become a potential enemy if there is any possible, remote military advantage – however abstract and supposed that advantage may be.
    Sorry to be scathing but it does seem that your trying to vindicate a clear case of murder perpetrated by a foreign power or their agents.

    PS : anybody who uses the term “collateral damage” when what they really mean is innocent victims should be immediately imprisoned.


    Comment by redracam | January 15, 2012

    • As far as you know “no declaration of war has been made upon Iran by Israel or the USA or vice-versa”?!… Obviously what you know is less then what you think you know…

      Prior to Islamic Revolution both the US and Israel had full diplomatic relations with Iran. After the Islamic Revolution the Iranian regime broke those relations – that’s the equivalent of a war declaration…

      As for “collateral damage”, it doesn’t only refer to human casualties but also to material damage. I didn’t make up the term, I didn’t decree that it would be the widely accepted nomenclature so I wish you well in trying to arrest me.

      As for “immediately imprison” – have you heard about due process?!…


      Comment by Hans | January 19, 2012

      • “the Iranian regime broke diplomatic relations – that’s the equivalent of a war declaration…”

        Sorry Hans, you don’t strike me as an expert on international law, and your statement sounds ridiculous.

        Also, due process and immediate custody are not mutually exclusive.


        Comment by aletho | January 19, 2012

  4. […] Who’s Running Covert Ops Against Iran? the Obama Administration Protests Too Little. ( […]


    Pingback by The U.S. Government Funded the Iranian Terrorist Group Which “Found” The Documents Upon Which the Warmongers Are Relying « Mb50's "Liquid Mud" Blog | January 15, 2012

  5. american and israelis (usraelians) define all terms to suit there needs. change definitions to suit whatever it is they want to do.

    therefore anything done to either is legitimate.

    innocence? none in either body.


    Comment by 5 dancing shlomos | January 18, 2012

    • Anything done to the Americans and/or Israel is legitimate?!… Where does that come from?!… Don’t you know that according to the Geneva Convention even if one party is in breach of the regulations the other party doesn’t get a free pass (to commit their own breaches of the regulations)?!…

      It’s not unlike the Police not being allowed to break the law while apprehending a criminal. But then again, your obvious hatred of America and/or Israel obviously blinds you to elementary logic and justice…


      Comment by Hans | January 19, 2012

  6. Want to thank all of you, for your Powerfull stand against Oboma & His Corrupted political partners.

    there is so much more we can do. Being aggressive and focusing on the facts and truth is only the first step.

    We musT follow Up with more details standing by our convictions and dont back down.

    Oboma has NOT brought CHANGE, In fact ~! ~ THE ONLY real THING needing CHANGE !….Was Barack Hussein Obama II.


    Barack Hussein Obama II ( Who hates American Values ) who is A ” SELF PROCLAIMED Enemy” ~of responsible, Morally Conscious HARD WORKING Americans.

    oBOMAS Irresponsible & DRUG MAFIA and reckless supporters KNOW~ that Barack Hussein Obama II, WILL FORCE YOU to paY THEM, out of your PockeT .{ FOR all of their UNCHECKED Vices and THRILLS/

    { All on YOU | /

    At your COST & Sacrifice

    …This UN~CHANGABLE fraud, has done His VERY BEST to Inspire VIOLENCE. For THESE ARE OBAMAS Very OWN WORDS.. saying ………To his supporters.

    Saying “Get ready for hand-to-hand combat with your Fellow Americans”

    – Obama has ALSO DECLARED to his Supporters….“I want all Americans to get in each others faces!– Obama demands !

    “You bring a knife to a fight pal, we’ll bring a gun” –

    THESE ARE OBAMAS OWN WORDS.. /and ANGER VIOLENCE and more taxes….. THIS IS OBAMAS Change for america

    /“Hit Back Twice As Hard”. He commands !*Obama on the private sector: ~~ “We talk to these folks…~ / so I know whose a*$ to KICK.“ OBOMA wants to KICK your a*$ /

    Shouting THAT Republican victory would mean ~ “hand to hand combat”

    HE IS EXPECTING people to be on Edge and BORDERLINE killing MODE, VIOLENT / and STAND up for their immoral CAUSES


    * Obama Tells democrats: “ I’m itching for a fight.” !

    ….PLEASE…. go to reXes NEW WebsiTe ~ ! Oboma *( Just like Adolf Hitler~~\oBOMA~~~ Demands ! — [ THE FINAL SOLUTION – for Un~Wanted Children

    Barak Obama is A MURDERER .~Torturing UNWANTED babys on DEATH ROE


    OBAMA TAKES a little NEW BORN innocent child. BORN. ALIVE sTabS it iN the head SUCKs ITS BRAINS OUT.

    This is just to wrong and horrible. Please stand for Loving Children and the USA


    Comment by Rexteryalizer Paw | January 23, 2012

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