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U.S. backs Jundullah to destabilize Iran

Pakistan’s former Army Chief: Iran and Pakistan under siege of western conspiracies, U.S. backs Jundullah to destabilize Iran

Pakistan Daily
July 8, 2008

Former Pakistan Army Chief General ’’Retd’’ Mirza Aslam Baig on Tuesday said that Iran and Pakistan are under siege of western conspiracies.
He said that intelligence agencies of allied forces are very active in Afghanistan and working against the interests of Iran, Pakistan, China and Russia.

“There are set-ups of United States in Jiwani and Kot Kalmat, in Balochistan province from where they carry out different operations in the area,” he said.

He said that the United States is also providing training facilities to the people of Jundallah, in Balochistan so that these people could create unrest in the area and affect Iran-Pakistan relations.

General (Retd) Baig termed the act of the United States as a conspiracy and said that this should be stopped.

He lauded the decision of the Pakistan government for handing over the people of Jundallah to Iran and said that those who are working against the interests of both countries should be dealt with with iron fist.

He said that the activities of people of Jundallah should be stopped and for this Iran and Pakistan have to tighten the security at Pakistan-Iran border.

He believed that in past both Pakistan and Iran had made mistakes but now it is right time to look forward and build strong relations.

General (Retd) Baig said that Pakistan should have supported the stance of Iran during Iran-Iraq war.

He was of the view that Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan should have worked together after the withdrawal of Russian army from Afghanistan.

He stressed the need for making a comprehensive strategy to strengthen Iran-Pakistan relations.

“We should forget the past and make a strategy to guard our national interests,” he said.

He said the richness of Balochistan in mineral resources is one of the attractions for the international powers but the strategic location of Balochistan is more important to the US and its allies.

General (Retd) Baig said that it is the responsibility of both countries to make the area free of danger and take the conspiracies as a challenge.

He said the American policy-makers are very much active in Balochistan since 2001 while India too has gained considerable influence in the province since then.

 

Former Pakistan General: U.S. Supports Jundullah Terrorists in Iran

Kurt Nimmo
Infowars
July 10, 2008

According to Pakistan’s former Army Chief, retired General Mirza Aslam Baig, the U.S. supports the Jundullah terrorist group and uses it to destabilize Iran. Baig knows what he is talking about, as he was on the inside track when the CIA and Pakistan’s ISI created al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Both Baig and former ISI chief Lt. Gen. Hamid Gul were part of the Darul Uloom Haqqania Islamic conference held near Peshawar on January 9, 2001, significant because the conference was hosted by CIA asset Osama bin Laden. Baig rubs elbows with Pakistan’s ruling oligarchs, so he knows something about what goes down in South and Central Asia and the Greater Middle East.

“He said that the US is providing training facilities to Jundullah fighters–located in eastern areas of Iran–to create unrest in the area and affect the cordial ties between Iran and its neighbor Pakistan,” reports Iran’s Press TV. “The intelligence agencies of the coalitional forces are very active in Afghanistan and work against the interests of Iran, Pakistan, China and Russia in the region, he said as quoted by Pakistan Daily newspaper.”

In other words, the neocons are busy at work on their plan, active now for well over a decade, to foment chaos in the region and ultimately reduce it to a smoldering ruin. Iran has long figured prominently on the neocon hit list.

“Jundullah is a terrorist group, headed by Abdolmalek Rigi, which operates in Iran’s Sistan-Baluchistan and Pakistan’s Baluchistan,” notes Press TV. In fact, the Sunni terrorist group is a creature of the CIA, a fact confirmed last May when the Sunday Telegraph reported that the CIA was “supplying money and weapons” to Jundullah as part of Bush’s not so covert black op designed to “achieve regime change in Iran,” that is to say reduce the country to a smoldering ruin on par with Iraq and install a brutal dictatorship, more than likely a return of the the dreaded Pahlavi monarchy, long favored by neocons. Rigi fought with another CIA-ISI spawned group, the Taliban, in Afghanistan.

“Jundullah has close ties with Al-Qaeda,” Tariq Jamil, chief of the Karachi police, told Newsline in 2004. In 2005, according to ABC News, U.S. officials began encouraging and advising Jundullah and in February, 2007, Dick Cheney flew to Pakistan to parlay with dictator Pervez Musharraf on Jundullah operations against Iran. It is said that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, supposedly the al-Qaeda operational commander of the September 11 terrorist attacks, headed up the group at one point.

In short, the U.S. is using al-Qaeda to attack and destabilize Iran. However, according to Bush and the neocons, Iran is supporting al-Qaeda. “President Bush yesterday accused Iran of harboring and aiding top al Qaeda terrorists, but he stopped short of charging that Tehran was directly involved in the September 11 attacks,” the Washington Times reported on July 20, 2004. Prior to this, the 9/11 whitewash commission accused al-Qaeda and Iran of collusion by way of Hezbollah, never mind that Hezbollah is a Shi’ite group and al-Qaeda Sunni, thus enemies.

 

Seymour Hersh: US Training Jondollah and MEK for Bombing preparation

CASMII
July 9, 2008

In an interview with NPR on his latest New Yorker Article, titled ‘Preparing the battlefield’, the renowned investigative journalist Seymour Hersh reveals more striking details of his findings on the aim of the $400 million budgeted US covert operations inside Iran. He provides valuable information on US military preparations to strike the country, on the total expansion of the Bush Administration’s executive power, about the US recognition of Iran’s overall positive role in Iraq and on the US support for the anti-Iran terrorist organisations Jondollah, PJAK and MEK.

Hersh explains that the aim of the US covert operations inside Iran is to create a pretext for attack with the goal of regime change. “The strategic thinking behind this covert operation is to provoke enough trouble and chaos so that the Iranian government makes the mistake of taking aggressive action which will give the impression of a country in acute turmoil”, he said. “Then you have what the White House calls the ‘casus belli’, a reason to attack the country. That is the thinking and it is very crazy.”

Read Full Article Here

 



Hersh Details Covert U.S. Funding Of Al-Qaeda In Iran

Reporter Details Congressionally Approved Covert Funding Of Terrorists In Iran
Military, intelligence, and congressional sources say secret war is vamped to bring down Iranian leadership

Infowars.net
June 30, 2008

Award-winning journalist Seymour Hersh has detailed a move by the Bush administration, with Congressional backing, which represents a “major escalation” in covert military operations aimed at destabilizing the Iranian leadership.

Hersh also details how The CIA and the United States Special Operations Forces have long-standing ties to the PEJAK, the outlawed breakaway faction of the PKK terrorist group in Iran, as well as other Sunni fundamentalists that former intelligence officials say “can also be described as Al Qaeda.”

Hersh describes how the neocon White House has vamped up secret efforts to work with the same terrorist groups that were once populated with figures such as Ramzi Yousef, who was convicted for his role in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was fingered as one of the leading planners of the September 11th attacks.

“The Finding was focused on undermining Iran’s nuclear ambitions and trying to undermine the government through regime change,” and involved “working with opposition groups and passing money,”Hersh reveals, quoting an unnamed “person familiar with its contents.”

Congress, under Democratic leadership, approved a $400 million request for funding late last year, according to Hersh’s sources, military, intelligence, and congressional officials with direct knowledge of the top secret Presidential Finding, which by law must be issued when covert intelligence operations get underway.

The corporate media has somewhat downplayed the revelations, which essentially highlight once again how the so called “war on terror” is a complete fiction, as US elites are funding Sunni extremists intent on destroying the Shiite Iranian leadership.

Hersh spoke about the article in an interview with CNN’s Candy Crowley:

“Well, one of the basic points is no matter what we say about diplomacy, you know, carrot and stick, the stick is working pretty hard and the stick is working overtime. This president did escalate the secret war inside Iran. We’ve been doing stuff inside Iran since ‘05 pretty heavily, Looking at the nuclear facilities, collecting intelligence and trying to undermine the regime, et cetera, et cetera but there was a significant escalation this year.” Hersh said.

They got a great deal of authorization to spend up to $400 million. That doesn’t mean he’s spent it all yet but he’s got that kind of authorization. The secret committees — anyone who saw “Charlie Wilson’s war,” — Charlie Wilson was able to generate a lot of money secretly. That’s what happens in Congress and the other major thing is we’ve sent in a special task force that operates out of Afghanistan into Iran.

“I did notice what Ambassador Crocker said about ‘not cross-border’ and I have a lot of respect for him and I don’t want to challenge him. But the fact is were inside but not necessarily cross-border. We have teams inside Iran. These include joint special operations forces (JSOC), the most elite commando units and basically they’re guys go after high-value targets around the world. They capture them or kill them so it’s a significant increase in American potential for damage inside Iran.

Hersh went on to state that one of the reasons former Commander of the U.S. Central Command Admiral Fallen was forced out and purged by the Bush administration was that he was unable to find out the full scope of clandestine operations inside Iran. Hersh also stated that the endgame for Bush and Cheney is to ensure that they do not leave office without first having eliminated Iran’s nuclear program, whether that be by attacking the country or forcing regime change inside the country.

Watch the full interview:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=8l0sGTrwujU

We have previously carried reports of how the US and Britain are already at war with Iran, have been at war with Iran for a number of years now and are funding anti-Iranian terrorist groups inside Iran in preparation for the fallout that will occur after overt military action is commenced.

High ranking CIA officials, Defense department officials, former UN officials and retired US air force Colonels have gone on record with the specific details.

In an article entitled The US war with Iran has already begun, written back in June 2005, former UN weapons inspector in Iraq, Scott Ritter described how intelligence gathering, direct action and the mobilizing of indigenous opposition is all being carried out already by CIA backed US special forces.

Ritter stated:

As with Iraq, the president has paved the way for the conditioning of the American public and an all-too-compliant media to accept at face value the merits of a regime change policy regarding Iran, linking the regime of the Mullah’s to an “axis of evil” (together with the newly “liberated” Iraq and North Korea), and speaking of the absolute requirement for the spread of “democracy” to the Iranian people.

But Americans, and indeed much of the rest of the world, continue to be lulled into a false sense of complacency by the fact that overt conventional military operations have not yet commenced between the United States and Iran.

As such, many hold out the false hope that an extension of the current insanity in Iraq can be postponed or prevented in the case of Iran. But this is a fool’s dream.

The reality is that the US war with Iran has already begun. As we speak, American over flights of Iranian soil are taking place, using pilotless drones and other, more sophisticated, capabilities.

The violation of a sovereign nation’s airspace is an act of war in and of itself. But the war with Iran has gone far beyond the intelligence-gathering phase.

President Bush has taken advantage of the sweeping powers granted to him in the aftermath of 11 September 2001, to wage a global war against terror and to initiate several covert offensive operations inside Iran.

Ritter goes on to describe how Iranian opposition groups, including the well known right-wing terrorist organization known as Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK), once run by Saddam Hussein’s dreaded intelligence services, but now working exclusively for the CIA’s Directorate of Operations, are carrying out remote bombings in Iran of the sort that the Bush administration condemns on a daily basis inside Iraq.

He also describes how to the north, in neighbouring Azerbaijan, the US military is preparing a base of operations for a massive military presence that will foretell a major land-based campaign designed to capture Tehran.

Ritter is not alone in his assertions.

During an interview on CNN in 2006, retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Sam Gardiner claimed that U.S. military operations were already ’underway’ inside Iran.

“I would say — and this may shock some — I think the decision has been made and military operations are under way,” Col. Gardiner told CNN International anchor Jim Clancy.

“The secretary point is, the Iranians have been saying American military troops are in there, have been saying it for almost a year,” Gardiner said. “I was in Berlin two weeks ago, sat next to the ambassador, the Iranian ambassador to the IAEA. And I said, ’Hey, I hear you’re accusing Americans of being in there operating with some of the units that have shot up revolution guard units.’ He said, quite frankly, ’Yes, we know they are. We’ve captured some of the units, and they’ve confessed to working with the Americans,’” said the retired Air Force colonel.

The full seven minute CNN segment can be viewed below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wmce6KmFh6o

Around the same time that Gardiner revealed this, RAW story ran an exclusive, which also revealed that, according to counterintelligence officials, covert operations were underway that included CIA co-option and use of right wing terror groups:

“We disarmed [the MEK] of major weapons but not small arms. [Secretary of Defense Donald] Rumsfeld was pushing to use them as a military special ops team, but policy infighting between their camp and Condi, but she was able to fight them off for a while,” said the intelligence official. According to still another intelligence source, the policy infighting ended last year when Donald Rumsfeld, under pressure from Vice President Cheney, came up with a plan to “convert” the MEK by having them simply quit their organization.

“These guys are nuts,” this intelligence source said. “Cambone and those guys made MEK members swear an oath to Democracy and resign from the MEK and then our guys incorporated them into their unit and trained them.”

The MEK were notorious in Iraq, indeed, Saddam Hussein himself had used the MEK for acts of terror against non-Sunni Muslims and had assigned domestic security detail to the MEK as a way of policing dissent among his own people. It was under the guidance of MEK ‘policing’ that Iraqi citizens who were not Sunni were routinely tortured, attacked and arrested.

MEK has been linked with numerous bombings inside Iran over the course of the last few years. The organization has also killed U.S. troops and civilians since the 70’s, yet the Bush cabal continues to fund them.

According to Global Security.org, “In the early 1970s, angered by U.S. support for the pro-Western shah, MEK members killed several U.S. soldiers and civilians working on defense projects in Iran. MEK members also supported the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, in which 52 Americans were held hostage for 444 days.”

After a bombing inside Iran in February 2007, the London Telegraph also reported on how a high ranking CIA official blew the whistle on the fact that America is secretly funding terrorist groups in Iran in an attempt to pile pressure on the Islamic regime to give up its nuclear program.

The claims were backed by Fred Burton, a former US state department counter-terrorism agent, who said: “The latest attacks inside Iran fall in line with US efforts to supply and train Iran’s ethnic minorities to destabilise the Iranian regime.”

John Pike, the head of the influential Global Security think tank in Washington, said: “The activities of the ethnic groups have hotted up over the last two years and it would be a scandal if that was not at least in part the result of CIA activity.”

More recently, this May, the Iranian Intelligence Ministry busted a CIA-backed terror group that was planning to bomb scientific, educational, and religious centers, and carry out assassinations, according to a report in the Tehran Times. The arrests came weeks after Ret. Gen. Thomas McInerney urged the U.S. to carry out terror bombings in Iran.

McInerney publicly called for the U.S. government to support groups like MEK and carry out deadly bombings in Iran:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GUVTbLEKgA

Here’s what I would suggest to you. Number one, we take the National Council for Resistance to Iran off the terrorist list that the Clinton Administration put them on as well as the Mujahedin-e Khalq at the Camp Ashraf in Iraq,” said McInerney.

“Then I would start a tit-for-tat strategy which I wrote up in the Wall Street Journal a year ago: For every EFP that goes off and kills Americans, two go off in Iran. No questions asked. People don’t have to know how it was done. It’s a covert action. They become the most unlucky country in the world,” he added.

Top Neo-Cons have been calling for the US to back terror groups in Iran and other reports clearly indicate that this program has already been in place for years.

Last November, Fox and Friends host Brian Kilmeade openly called for US support for acts of terrorism, such as car bombings, in Tehran. Colonel David Hunt, who has over 29 years of military experience including extensive operational experience in Special Operations, Counter Terrorism and Intelligence Operations, agreed with Kilmeade, stating “absolutely” in response to Kilmead’s question about whether cars should start blowing up in Tehran.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mH3BTaWrQ3I

Another Iranian-based terror group that the Bush administration is already funding as a means of regime change in Iran is Jundullah – a Sunni Al-Qaeda terrorist group formerly headed by the alleged mastermind of 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

“The CIA is giving arms-length support, supplying money and weapons, to an Iranian militant group, Jundullah, which has conducted raids into Iran from bases in Pakistan,” the London Telegraph reported last year.

The group has been blamed for a number of bombings inside Iran aimed at destabilizing Ahmadinejad’s government and is also active in Pakistan, having been fingered for its involvement in attacks on police stations and car bombings at the Pakistan-US Cultural Center in 2004.

As Seymour Hersh himself also reported back in 2004, U.S. intelligence and Israel’s Mossad are busy at work stirring up trouble in Iran in preparation for an attack on that country. In early 2005, the Guardian reported that “American special forces have been on the ground inside Iran scouting for US air strike targets for suspected nuclear weapons sites.”

If this all sounds a little familiar, it’s because it is. The fact is that the US has a long history of provocation and covert action inside Iran.

The In 1953 the CIA and MI6 carried out Operation Ajax (officially TP-AJAX), a covert operation by the United Kingdom and the United States to remove the democratically elected nationalist cabinet of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh from power, to support the Pahlavi dynasty and consolidate the power of Mohammed Reza Pahlavi in order to preserve the Western control of Iran’s hugely lucrative oil infrastructure.

In planning the operation, the CIA organized a guerrilla force incase the communist Tudeh Party seized power as a result of the chaos created by Operation Ajax. According to formerly “Top Secret” documents released by the National Security Archive, Undersecretary of State Walter Bedell Smith reported that the CIA had reached an agreement with Qashqai tribal leaders in southern Iran to establish a clandestine safe haven from which U.S.-funded guerrillas and intelligence agents could operate.

The conspiracy centered around having the increasingly impotent Shah dismiss the powerful Prime Minister Mossadegh and replace him with General Fazlollah Zahedi, a choice agreed on by the British and Americans after careful examination for his likeliness to be pro-British.

Zahedi was installed to succeed Prime Minister Mossadegh. The deposed Mossadegh was arrested, given a show trial, and condemned to death. The Shah commuted this sentence to solitary confinement for three years in a military prison, followed by house arrest for life.

“If there had not been a military coup, there would not have been 25 years of the Shah’s brutal regime, there would not have been a revolution in 1979 and a government of clerics,” Ibrahim Yazdi, a former foreign minister and leading member of a political party that traces its origins to Mossadegh’s National Front, told the Christian Science Monitor on the 50th anniversary of the coup and installation of the Shah. “Now it seems that the Americans are pushing towards the same direction again. That shows they have not learned anything from history.”

“For many Iranians, the coup was a tragedy from which their country has never recovered. Perhaps because Mossadegh represents a future denied, his memory has approached myth,” Dan De Luce writes for the Guardian. “Beyond Iran, America remains deeply resented for siding with authoritarian rule in the region.”

Alex Jones’s latest film Terrorstorm covers the ousting of Mossadegh in depth.

After the Iranian revolution in 1979, the US again found itself sparring with Iran. Again we find a history of provocation and aggression. In particular, a fierce assault known as Operation Praying Mantis, is renowned. The operation began after a US warship had entered mined Iranian territorial waters in the Persian Gulf.

From Wikipedia:

On April 14 1988, the guided missile frigate USS Samuel B. Roberts struck a mine while sailing in the Persian Gulf as part of Operation Earnest Will, the 1987-88 convoy missions in which U.S. warships escorted reflagged Kuwaiti oil tankers to protect them from Iranian attacks. The explosion put a 25-foot hole in the Roberts’ hull and nearly sank it. But the crew saved their ship with no loss of life, and Roberts was towed to Dubai on April 16.

After the mining, U.S. Navy divers recovered other mines in the area. When the serial numbers were found to match those of mines seized along with the Iran Ajr the previous September, U.S. military officials planned a retaliatory operation against Iranian targets in the Gulf.

The battle, the largest for American surface forces since World War II,[1] sank two Iranian warships and as many as six armed speedboats. It also marked the first surface-to-surface missile engagement in U.S. Navy history.

The US also attacked and destroyed several Iranian oil platforms in a full out military assault. At the time the Chicago Sun Times reported:

U.S. naval forces on Monday attacked Iranian targets in the Persian Gulf to show the Iranians that “if they threaten us, they’ll pay a price,” President Reagan said.

In fighting conducted over nine hours, the U.S. forces knocked out two Iranian oil platforms, and then sank or disabled a fast-attack missile patrol boat, two frigates, and three speedboats when Iran attempted to fight back.

Note Reagan’s comments. Hence the name ’Operation Praying Mantis’ was a reference to the fanning of the wings used to make the mantis seem larger and to scare the opponent.

On November 6, 2003 the International Court of Justice dismissed Iran’s claim for reparation against the United States for breach of the 1955 Treaty of Amity between the two countries. The court also dismissed a counter-claim by the United States, also for reparation for breach of the same treaty. As part of its finding the court did note that “the actions of the United States of America against Iranian oil platforms on 19 October 1987 (Operation Nimble Archer) and 18 April 1988 (Operation Praying Mantis) cannot be justified as measures necessary to protect the essential security interests of the United States of America.”

The fallout of Praying Mantis also resulted in the U.S. Navy guided missile cruiser USS Vincennes shooting down an Iranian civilian commercial airliner, Iran air flight 655, between Bandar Abbas and Dubai, killing all 290 passengers and crew aboard, including 38 non-Iranians and 66 children. The Vincennes was inside Iranian territorial waters at the time of the shoot-down.

The On the morning of July 3, the Vincennes crossed into Iranian territorial waters during clashes with Iranian gunboats. Earlier in the day, the Vincennes – along with Iranian gunboats – had similarly violated Omani waters until challenged by an Omani warship.

According to the U.S. government, the Iranian aircraft was mistakenly identified as an attacking military fighter. The Iranian government, however, maintains that the Vincennes knowingly shot down a civilian aircraft.

According to the Iranian government, the shooting down of IR 655 by the Vincennes was an intentionally performed and unlawful act. Even if there was a mistaken identification, which Iran has not accepted, it argues that this constituted gross negligence and recklessness amounting to an international crime, not an accident.

Newsweek reporters John Barry and Roger Charles wrote that Rogers acted recklessly and without due care. Their report accused the U.S. government of a cover-up. An analysis of the events by the International Strategic Studies Association described the deployment of an Aegis cruiser in the zone as irresponsible and felt that the expense of the ship had played a major part in the setting of a low threshold for opening fire.

George H.W. Bush, at the time Vice President said “I will never apologize for the United States of America — I don’t care what the facts are” in reference to the incident.

The BBC later reported:

It took four years for the US administration to admit officially that the USS Vincennes was in Iranian waters when the skirmish took place with the Iranian gunboats. Subsequent investigations have accused the US military of waging a covert war against Iran in support of Iraq. In February 1996 the US agreed to pay Iran $61.8 million in compensation for the 248 Iranians killed, plus the cost of the aircraft and legal expenses.

So we see that Britain and the US have a long history of covert action against and provocation of Iran in their bid to aggressively control the region. Nothing has changed.

US ’escalates covert Iran missions’

http://youtube.com/watch?v=B4FkZfRXLGA

Morning Joe: Andrew Card on the Sy Hersh Leak

http://youtube.com/watch?v=a8LOmus7F2s

Hersh: U.S. Funds Being Funneled To Violent Al Qaeda

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=82q2gaSyzbs

Seymour Hersh’s Article: Preparing the Battlefield
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/07/07/080707fa_fact_hersh

US gives ’major’ boost to covert ops in Iran: report
http://www.spacewar.com/2006/080629061113.bfvpwct9.html

 



US paying allies to fight war in Iraq

US paying allies to fight war in Iraq

Times of India
May 31, 2008

The tale of massive fraud and embezzlement of millions of dollars by the US military in its operations in Iraq continues. Testifying before the US Congress Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on 22 May, Mary Ugone, deputy inspector general of accounts in the Pentagon said that an audit of $8.2 billion spending related to the Iraq war showed that $7.8 billion had been improperly spent.

Over 180,000 payments, mostly since the war started in 2003, were made by the defense department to contractors for everything from bottled water to vehicles to transportation services.

In her testimony, Ugone also revealed that $135 million were given to forces from three countries UK, South Korea and Poland to facilitate their participation in the war. This is the first time that the US has officially admitted paying its allies in the so-called Coalition of the Willing that invaded Iraq in March 2003.

In his opening statement, Henry Waxman, chairman of the committee, said that wounded soldiers are getting notices from the Pentagon to return signing bonuses with interest since they had not completed the full term. “There is something very wrong when our wounded troops have to fill out forms in triplicate for meal money while billions of dollars in cash are handed out in Iraq with no accountability,” he said.

In an earlier report released in November 2007, the Inspector General had concluded that the Defense Department couldn’t properly account for over $5 billion in taxpayer funds spent in support of the Iraq Security Forces. It said that thousands of weapons, including assault rifles, machine guns, and rocket-propelled grenade launchers were unaccounted for, and millions of dollars had been squandered on construction projects that did not exist.

Ugones testimony gave detailed examples of the bizarre manner in which US defense officials doled out huge amounts of money without recording where it was going. In one case a sum of $320 million was paid an Iraqi official for paying salaries with only an incompletely filled voucher signed by one official. Since no details of the spending plan were attached as required by Pentagon rules the auditors have no clue as to where the money went. This payment was made from assets seized from Iraq.

Auditors found that the Pentagon gave away $1.8 billion from seized Iraqi assets. There were 53 vouchers noting these payments but not even one adequately explained where the money went.

In another instance, two vouchers, one for $5 million and the other for $2.7 million showed payments to a vendor for goods and services provided except that there were no details of what goods or services were actually delivered.

Over $2.7 billion was spent on providing equipment and services to the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF). The auditors found that $2 billion of this was not properly accounted for. For example, 31 heavy tracked recovery vehicles costing $10.2 million were given to the ISF, but 18 of them could not be traced because identification numbers were not recorded.

 

US Paying Sunni Insurgents Not to Kill Troops

Antiwar
February 19, 2008

It is impossible to keep up with all the Bush regime’s lies. There are simply too many. Among the recent crop, one of the biggest is that the “surge” is working.

Launched last year, the “surge” was the extra 20,000-30,000 U.S. troops sent to Iraq. These few extra troops, Americans were told, would finally supply the necessary forces to pacify Iraq.

This claim never made any sense. The extra troops didn’t raise the total number of U.S. soldiers to more than one-third the number every expert has said is necessary in order to successfully occupy Iraq.

The real purpose of the “surge” was to hide another deception. The Bush regime is paying Sunni insurgents $800,000 a day not to attack U.S. forces. That’s right, 80,000 members of an “Awakening group,” the “Sons of Iraq,” a newly formed “U.S.-allied security force” consisting of Sunni insurgents, are being paid $10 a day each not to attack U.S. troops. Allegedly, the Sons of Iraq are now at work fighting al-Qaeda.

This is a much cheaper way to fight a war. We can only wonder why Bush didn’t figure it out sooner.

The “surge” was also timed to take account of the near completion of neighborhood cleansing. Most of the violence in Iraq during the past five years has resulted from Sunnis and Shi’ites driving each other out of mixed neighborhoods. Had the two groups been capable of uniting against the U.S. troops, the U.S. would have been driven out of Iraq long ago. Instead, the Iraqis slaughtered each other and fought the Americans in their spare time.

In other words, the “surge” has had nothing to do with any decline in violence.

With the Sunni insurgents now on Uncle Sam’s payroll, with neighborhoods segregated, and with Sadr’s militia standing down, it is unclear who is still responsible for ongoing violence other than U.S. troops themselves. Somebody must still be fighting, however, because the U.S. is still conducting air strikes and is still unable to tell friend from foe.

On Feb. 16, the Los Angeles Times reported that a U.S. air strike managed to kill nine Iraqi civilians and three Sons of Iraq.

The Sunnis are abandoning their posts in protest, demanding an end to “errant” U.S. air strikes. Obviously, the Sunnis see an opportunity to increase their daily pay for not attacking Americans. Soon they will have consultants advising them how much they can demand in bribes before it pays the Americans to begin fighting the war under the old terms. If Sunnis are smart, they will split the gains. Currently, the Sunnis are getting shafted. They are only collecting $800,000 of the $275,000,000 it costs the U.S. to fight the war for one day. That’s only about three-tenths of one percent, too much of a one-sided deal for the Americans.

If the Sunnis negotiate their cut to between one-quarter and one-half of the daily cost to the U.S. of the war, the Sunnis won’t need to share in the oil revenues, thus helping the three factions to get back together as a country. Even 20 percent of the daily cost of the war would be a good deal for the Sunnis. A long-term contract in this range would be expensive for Uncle Sam, but a great deal cheaper than John McCain’s commitment to a 100-year Iraqi war.

If Bush’s war turns out to be as big a boon for the Sunnis as it has for Tony Blair, we might have a modern-day version of The Mouse That Roared – a movie about an impoverished country that attacked the U.S. in order to be defeated and receive foreign aid – only this time the money comes as a payoff for not fighting the occupiers.

As the world now knows, Blair’s “dodgy dossier” about the threat allegedly posed by Iraq was a contrivance that allowed Blair to put British troops at the service of Bush’s aggression in the Middle East. Now that Blair is out of his prime minister job, he has been rewarded with millions of dollars in sinecures from financial firms such as JP Morgan and millions more in speaking engagements. As part of the payoff, the Bush Republicans have even put Mrs. Blair on the lucrative lecture circuit.

Ask yourself, do you really think Blair knows enough high finance to be of any value as an adviser to JP Morgan, or enough about climate change to advise Zurich Financial on the subject? Do you really believe that after hearing all the vacuous speeches Blair has delivered in those many years in office anyone now wants to pay him huge fees to hear him give a speech? Even when it was free, people were sick of it.

Blair is simply collecting his payoff for selling out his country and sending British troops to die for American hegemony.

The Sunnis seem inclined to do the same thing if Bush will pay them enough.

Is the next phase of the Iraq war going to be a U.S.-Sunni alliance against the Shi’ites?

 



Iran Busts CIA-Backed Terror Group

Iran Busts CIA-Backed Terror Group
Announcement follows Neo-Con General’s urge for Bush administration to support terrorist bombings in Iran

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet
May 19, 2008

The Iranian Intelligence Ministry busted a CIA-backed terror group that was planning to bomb scientific, educational, and religious centers, and carry out assassinations, according to a report in the Tehran Times. The arrests come weeks after Ret. Gen. Thomas McInerney urged the U.S. to carry out terror bombings in Iran.

“The Intelligence Ministry on Saturday released details of the detection and dismantling of a terrorist network affiliated to the United States,” reports the newspaper.

“The United States Central Intelligence Agency comprehensively supported the terrorist group by arming it, training its members, and sponsoring its inhumane activities in Iran, the Intelligence Ministry stated.”

The attack on a religious center in Shiraz last month which killed thirteen people and wounded 190 was blamed on the same group and according to the report, “it also had plans to carry out similar attacks on the Tehran International Book Fair, the Russian Consulate in Gilan Province, oil pipelines in southern Iran, and other targets.”

Read Full Article Here

 

CIA Protects Al-Qaeda Group From Extradition
Jundullah organization, blamed for bombings in Iran, being advised by U.S. intelligence reports ABC News

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet
May 23, 2008

The CIA is protecting an Al-Qaeda linked terror group formerly headed by the alleged mastermind of 9/11 from being extradited to Iran according to an ABC News report, which also reveals that U.S. intelligence has been meeting and advising the group that has been blamed for bombings in Iran.

As the London Telegraph reported last year, “The CIA is giving arms-length support, supplying money and weapons, to an Iranian militant group, Jundullah, which has conducted raids into Iran from bases in Pakistan.”

Jundullah is a Sunni Al-Qaeda offshoot terrorist group formerly headed by the alleged mastermind of 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, reported the Asia Times in 2004.

The group also produces propaganda tapes and literature for al-Qaeda’s media wing, As-Sahab, which is in turn closely affiliated with the military-industrial complex front IntelCenter, the group that makes available Al-Qaeda videos to the western media.

IntelCenter was caught last year adding their logo to alleged Al-Qaeda tapes at the same time as the Al-Qaeda media brand, stoking suspicions that the Pentagon affiliated IntelCenter was directly releasing fake Al-Qaeda videos.

Jundullah has been blamed for a number of bombings inside Iran aimed at destabilizing Ahmadinejad’s government and is also active in Pakistan, having been fingered for its involvement in attacks on police stations and car bombings at the Pakistan-US Cultural Center in 2004.

“In another sign of growing tensions with the United States, Pakistan is threatening to turn over to Iran six members of a tribal militant group Iran claims are “spies” for the CIA,” reports ABC News.

“The group, Jundullah, operates in Baluchistan on both sides of the border between Iran and Pakistan and has carried out a number of violent attacks on Iranian army facilities and officers inside the country.”

“The CIA has denied any direct ties with the group, but U.S. officials tell ABC News U.S. intelligence officers frequently meet and advise Jundullah leaders, and current and former intelligence officers are working to prevent the men from being sent to Iran.”

The fact that the highest echelons of the U.S. intelligence apparatus are meeting, advising and funding Sunni Al-Qaeda groups as a means of facilitating terrorist bombings and regime change in Iran completely invalidates the “war on terror” as a fabled fraud and renders ludicrous Bush administration rhetoric about fighting Al-Qaeda cells in Iraq.

Read Full Article Here

 

Iran Intercepts U.S. Terrorists Plotting Attack on Russian Consulate

Kurt Nimmo
Infowars
May 16, 2008

As if to underscore neocon retired general Thomas McInerney’s call for terror attacks against Iran (see Paul Joseph Watson, Neo-Con General Calls For Terror Attacks In Iran) , the Russian news and information agency RIA Novosti reports “Iran has arrested a terrorist group that planned to blow up the Russian consulate building in the town of Rasht near the Caspian Sea, the Iranian intelligence and security minister said on Wednesday.”

It appears the neocons are attempting to drag Russia into the coming conflagration, particularly because Russia has cooperated with Iran, specifically in regard to Iran’s light water reactor at Bushehr. In late 2005, Russia proposed an arrangement under which Iran would end its uranium enrichment activities in return for a Russian guarantee to enrich, in Russia, all uranium needed for Iranian nuclear power plants, an arrangement permitted under the NPT. It appears the neocons and their terrorist proxies are now targeting Russia for its perceived impertinence.

As award-winning journalist Seymour Hersh reported back in 2004, U.S. intelligence and Israel’s Mossad are busy at work stirring up trouble in Iran in preparation for an attack on that country. In early 2005, the Guardian reported that “American special forces have been on the ground inside Iran scouting for US air strike targets for suspected nuclear weapons sites, according to the renowned US investigative journalist Seymour Hersh.”

Obviously, as the foiled attack on the Russian consulate demonstrates, this operation has expanded from simply targeting nuclear facilities — again, entirely legal under the term of the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty — and now includes directing terrorist groups against civilian and government targets.

Earlier in the week, Iran’s intelligence minister said “those behind a bomb blast in a mosque that killed 14 people last month also planned to target a Russian consulate in the Islamic state,” according to Reuters. “President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused the United States, Israel and Britain on Tuesday of being responsible for the blast in the southern city of Shiraz that also wounded 200 people.” Intelligence minister Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei said his “ministry last week said it had arrested five or six members of a terrorist group with links to Britain and the United States, who it said were involved in the explosion” at the mosque.

McInerney’s comments on Fox News were intended to dovetail with this increasing “covert” U.S. and Israeli sponsored violence in Iran. It appears the targeting of a Russian consulate is designed to ratchet up the tension. In the future, if MEK or “al-Qaeda” terrorist groups successfully kill Russians, this may very well start a Third World War, or as the neocons fondly call it, World War Four.

 



Top Source Says Bush To Strike Iran By August


Top Source Says Bush To Strike Iran By August
Asia Times says two U.S. Senators already briefed on attack plan

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet
May 27, 2008

The Bush administration is planning to carry out air strikes against Iran by August and two U.S. Senators have already been briefed on the attack according to a report in the highly respected Asia Times, which cites a former assistant secretary of state and U.S. career diplomat as its source.

Muhammad Cohen’s article claims that Senator Diane Feinstein, Democrat of California, and Senator Richard Lugar, Republican of Indiana, were informed of the attack plan and planned to voice their opposition to it in a New York Times editorial in an attempt to offset the air strike. The editorial is yet to materialize.

According to Cohen’ source, the Neo-Cons believe that they can perpetrate a “limited” air strike aimed more at sending a message than destroying Iran’s supposed nuclear program, but the consequences of such a move are likely to provoke a massive Iranian retaliation, as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has consistently warned.

The George W Bush administration plans to launch an air strike against Iran within the next two months, an informed source tells Asia Times Online, echoing other reports that have surfaced in the media in the United States recently.

Two key US senators briefed on the attack planned to go public with their opposition to the move, according to the source, but their projected New York Times op-ed piece has yet to appear.

The source, a retired US career diplomat and former assistant secretary of state still active in the foreign affairs community, speaking anonymously, said last week that that the US plans an air strike against the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). The air strike would target the headquarters of the IRGC’s elite Quds force. With an estimated strength of up to 90,000 fighters, the Quds’ stated mission is to spread Iran’s revolution of 1979 throughout the region.

The source said the White House views the proposed air strike as a limited action to punish Iran for its involvement in Iraq. The source, an ambassador during the administration of president H W Bush, did not provide details on the types of weapons to be used in the attack, nor on the precise stage of planning at this time. It is not known whether the White House has already consulted with allies about the air strike, or if it plans to do so.

Speculating on whether such a strike will benefit either McCain or Obama on the eve of the presidential election, the report points out that McCain has built his candidacy around an aggressive foreign policy therefore would be the likelier to take advantage.

“A strike on Iran could rally American voters to back the war effort and vote for McCain,” states the article.

“On the other hand, an air strike on Iran could heighten public disenchantment with Bush administration policy in the Middle East, leading to support for the Democratic candidate, whoever it is.”

Iran’s inevitable response would send oil prices skyrocketing towards $200 dollars a barrel as global instability threatened to boil over into numerous different regions in the aftermath of any attack. McCain’s ability to grandstand as a tough war leader would no doubt be amplified by a compliant corporate media and a sizable proportion of the American public would rally behind the Arizona Senator, especially if American interests were the subject of terrorist attacks on behalf of Hezbollah and Hamas.

China’s response to any attack, with the Communist nation being Iran’s biggest customer for oil, would also be key. Any inkling of a hostile reaction would place the world under the greatest threat since the height of the cold war.

Lugar and Feinstein’s public opposition to the plan “would likely create a public groundswell of criticism that could induce the Bush administration reconsider its plan,” states the article but, “Given their obligations to uphold the secrecy of classified information, it is unlikely the senators would reveal the Bush administration’s plan or their knowledge of it.”

The impending invasion of Iran has been on the grapevine for the past three summers running and many are beginning to fear that the “boy who cried wolf” mentality is starting to discredit those who repeatedly warn of the coming attack. However, rhetoric has notably heated in the past few months.

During Bush’s recent visit to Israel, an Israeli official claimed that a senior member in Bush’s entourage had stated in a closed meeting that Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney had resolved to attack Iran before they left office.

During a recent news conference at Israel’s parliament, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House majority leader Steny Hoyer stated that the military option against Iran was still on the table.

Prominent political figures such as Zbigniew Brzezinski and Gary Hart have warned that an attack on Iran won’t arrive absent a staged provocation or a new Gulf of Tonkin style incident.

During a 2007 Senate Foreign Relations Committee meeting, Brzezinski alluded to the potential for the Bush administration to manufacture a false flag Gulf of Tonkin type incident in describing a “plausible scenario for a military collision with Iran,” which would revolve around “some provocation in Iraq or a terrorist act in the US blamed on Iran, culminating in a ‘defensive’ US military action against Iran that plunges a lonely America into a spreading and deepening quagmire eventually ranging across Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

In an open letter to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, former Senator and current CFR member Hart warned the Iranian President that he would be, “Well advised to read the history of the sinking of the U.S.S. Maine in Havana harbor in 1898 and the history of the Gulf of Tonkin in 1964,” two false flag events manufactured by the U.S. itself to kick start a war.

 

Neo-Con General Calls For Terror Attacks In Iran
McInerney urges U.S. government to support terrorist organization MEK, Bush administration already bankrolling Al-Qaeda-linked Jundullah group

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet
May 16, 2008

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GUVTbLEKgA

Fresh off the revelation of Donald Rumsfeld’s 2006 audio tape admission that a method to reinvigorate the Neo-Con agenda would be another terror attack, Neo-Cons like Ret. Gen. Thomas McInerney, who was part of the Pentagon’s “message force multipliers” propaganda program, have been calling for the Bush administration to commit acts of terror in Iran.

According to the Crooks and Liars blog, McInerney has appeared on Fox News 144 times since Jan 2002. In one of his recent appearances he publicly called for the U.S. government to support groups like MEK, which is listed by the State Department as a terrorist organization, and carry out deadly bombings in Iran.

McInerney: Here’s what I would suggest to you. Number one, we take the National Council for Resistance to Iran off the terrorist list that the Clinton Administration put them on as well as the Mujahedin-e Khalq at the Camp Ashraf in Iraq. Then I would start a tit-for-tat strategy which I wrote up in the Wall Street Journal a year ago: For every EFP that goes off and kills Americans, two go off in Iran. No questions asked. People don’t have to know how it was done. It’s a covert action. They become the most unlucky country in the world. …

McInerney’s frothing desire to see women and children blown to bits in the streets of Tehran may have something to do with the fact that “McInerney is on the Board of Directors for several companies with defense-related contracts that would seem to benefit from his pro-war propaganda. For example, Alloy Surfaces Company (ASC), whose contracts for “ammunition and explosives” with the Department of Defense appear to have grown from $15 million in 2002 to more than $169 million in 2006. A conflict of interest, perhaps?”

McInerney “tit-for-tat” strategy, to support MEK-run terror bombings in Iran in retaliation for Iran supposedly killing U.S. troops in Iraq, a baseless claim in itself, is all the more horribly ironic when one considers the fact that MEK “has killed US troops and civilians before back in the 1970s”.

As Crooks and Liars points out, the U.S. government is already funding MEK and the group has been linked with numerous bombings inside Iran over the course of the last few years.

In addition – British SAS have been caught training insurgents in Iraq to carry out hi-tech bombings that are later blamed on Iran.

Another Iranian-based terror group that the Bush administration is already funding as a means of regime change in Iran is Jundullah – a Sunni Al-Qaeda terrorist group formerly headed by the alleged mastermind of 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

“The CIA is giving arms-length support, supplying money and weapons, to an Iranian militant group, Jundullah, which has conducted raids into Iran from bases in Pakistan,” the London Telegraph reported last year.

The group has been blamed for a number of bombings inside Iran aimed at destabilizing Ahmadinejad’s government and is also active in Pakistan, having been fingered for its involvement in attacks on police stations and car bombings at the Pakistan-US Cultural Center in 2004.

Crooks and Liars documents White House efforts to censor reports about MEK and other Iranian terror groups in the U.S. corporate media.

In Dec 2006, just days after Rumsfeld was forced to step down, the NYT published a heavily redacted op-ed by Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann. Though none of the info was classified, all of which had previously “been extensively reported in the news media,” much of their article was blacked out because the “White House intervened” before it went to print. In response, Leverett and Mann followed up with an accompanying piece What We Wanted to Tell You About Iran where they provided citations to previously reported sources for all of the redacted info. Raw Story compiled those sources in their “The redacted Iran op-ed revealed” and, surprise, many of the articles refer directly to the MEK terrorist group, but there had been nary a mention in the portions the White House allowed.

So, to recap: One of the Pentagon’s propaganda TV analysts who has clear ties to defense industries that would likely stand to benefit from any increased hostilities is advocating that the US ought to use a terrorist organization to commit acts of terrorism against Iran in response to alleged Iranian involvement in attacks against US forces in Iraq, which might be true, or maybe not. And if that wasn’t outrageous enough, it seems that Bush may have been authorizing such tactics already.

In November 2007, Fox and Friends host Brian Kilmeade openly called for US support for acts of terrorism, such as car bombings, in Tehran. Colonel David Hunt, who has over 29 years of military experience including extensive operational experience in Special Operations, Counter Terrorism and Intelligence Operations, agreed with Kilmeade, stating “absolutely” in response to Kilmead’s question about whether cars should start blowing up in Tehran.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mH3BTaWrQ3I

Last weekend, the Iranian Intelligence Ministry busted a CIA-backed terror group that was planning to bomb scientific, educational, and religious centers, and carry out assassinations in Iran, according to a report in the Tehran Times.

Recent News:

’US evidence against Iran fabricated’
http://www.theregister.co.uk/20..arrested_downloading_book/

Senators say report of planned US strikes on Iran untrue
http://rawstory.com/ne..rt_of_planned_US_0528.html

Ultimatum Being Drafted Towards Iran
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/04/29/eveningnews/main4056941.shtml

Iran No Longer Trades Oil For Dollars
http://www.thaindian.com/newsporta..rs-in-oil-transactions_10043750.html

Zbig: US suffers from Iran paranoia
http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=57561&sectionid=351020104

The War Camp in Death throes is intent on striking Iran
http://www.payvand.com/news/08/may/1239.html

Iran: Army will respond to any threat
http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=56855&sectionid=351020101

Brit Intel “Leaks” Propaganda: Iran Paying Iraqis to Kill Occupation Troops
http://www.infowars.com/?p=2346

Israel mulling Iran strike
http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=57243&sectionid=351020202

China, Russia rule out military actions on Iran
http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90001/90776/90883/6417395.html

White House denies Army Radio report on plan to attack Iran
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid..=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull

Ghoul Lieberman Finds “Appeal” in Slaughtering Iranians
http://www.infowars.com/?p=2167

Bush ’plans Iran air strike by August’
Building a Case for Attack on Iran’s Nuclear Sites

Coup on Iran & False Flag News Archive

 



US Airstrikes Kill Civilians In Iraq As Civil War Looms

Shiite leader al-Sadr defies Iraq gov’t

AP
March 29, 2008

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1a4s458mDMs

Anti-American Shiite militia leader Muqtada al-Sadr ordered his followers Saturday to defy government orders to surrender their weapons, as U.S. jets struck Shiite extremists near Basra to bolster a faltering Iraqi offensive against gunmen in the city.Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki acknowledged he may have miscalculated by failing to foresee the strong backlash that his offensive, which began Tuesday, provoked in areas of Baghdad and other cities where Shiite militias wield power.Government television said the round-the-clock curfew imposed two days ago on the capital and due to expire Sunday would be extended indefinitely. Gunfire and explosions were heard late Saturday in Sadr City, the Baghdad stronghold of al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army militia.The U.S. Embassy tightened its security measures, ordering all staff to use armored vehicles for all travel in the Green Zone and to sleep in reinforced buildings until further notice after six days of rocket and mortar attacks that left two Americans dead.Despite the mounting crisis, al-Maliki, himself a Shiite, vowed to remain in Basra until government forces wrest control from militias, including the Mahdi Army. He called the fight for control of Basra “a decisive and final battle.”British ground troops, who controlled the city until handing it over to the Iraqis last December, also joined the battle for Basra, firing artillery Saturday for the first time in support of Iraqi forces.

Iraqi authorities have given Basra extremists until April 8 to surrender heavy and medium weapons after an initial 72-hour ultimatum to hand them over was widely ignored.

But a defiant al-Sadr called on his followers Saturday to ignore the order, saying that his Mahdi Army would turn in its weapons only to a government that can “get the occupier out of Iraq,” referring to the Americans.

The order was made public by Haidar al-Jabiri, a member of the influential political commission of the Sadrist movement.

Al-Sadr, in an interview aired Saturday by Al-Jazeera television, said his Mahdi Army was capable of “liberating Iraq” and maintained al-Maliki’s government was as “distant” from the people as Saddam Hussein’s.

Residents of Basra contacted by telephone said Mahdi militiamen were manning checkpoints Saturday in their neighborhood strongholds. The sound of intermittent mortar and machine gun fire rang out across the city, as the military headquarters at a downtown hotel came under repeated fire.

An Iraqi army battalion commander and two of his bodyguards were killed Saturday night by a roadside bomb in central Basra, military spokesman Col. Karim al-Zaidi said.

The fight for Basra is crucial for al-Maliki, who flew to Basra earlier this week and is staking his credibility on gaining control of Iraq’s second-largest city, which has essentially been held by armed groups for nearly three years.

In a speech Saturday to tribal leaders in Basra, al-Maliki promised to “stand up to these gangs” not only in the south but throughout Iraq.

Iraqi officials and their American partners have long insisted that the crackdown was not directed at al-Sadr’s movement but against criminals and renegade factions — some of whom are allegedly tied to Iran.

Al-Maliki told tribal leaders that the offensive in Basra “was only to deal with these gangs” — some of which he said “are worse than al-Qaida.”

Without mentioning the Sadrists by name, al-Maliki said he was “surprised to see that party emerge with all the weapons available to it and strike at everything — institutions, people, departments, police stations and the army.”

Al-Sadr’s followers have accused rival Shiite parties in the national government of trying to crush their movement before provincial elections this fall. The young cleric’s lieutenants had warned repeatedly that any move to dislodge them from Basra would provoke bloodshed.

But al-Maliki’s comments appeared to reinforce suspicions that his government failed to foresee the backlash, including a sharp upsurge in violence throughout the Shiite south and shelling of the U.S.-controlled Green Zone, the nerve center of the Iraqi leadership and the U.S. mission.

Two American soldiers were killed Saturday when their vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb in mostly Shiite east Baghdad, the U.S. military said.

The growing turmoil threatens to undermine White House efforts to convince a skeptical Congress and the American public that the Iraqis are making progress toward managing their own security without the presence of U.S. troops.

Read Full Article Here

 


Iraqi police in Basra shed their uniforms, kept their rifles and switched sides

Uruknet
March 28, 2008

Abu Iman barely flinched when the Iraqi Government ordered his unit of special police to move against al-Mahdi Army fighters in Basra.

His response, while swift, was not what British and US military trainers who have spent the past five years schooling the Iraqi security forces would have hoped for. He and 15 of his comrades took off their uniforms, kept their government-issued rifles and went over to the other side without a second thought.

Such turncoats are the thread that could unravel the British Army’s policy in southern Iraq. The military hoped that local forces would be able to combat extremists and allow the Army to withdraw gradually from the battle-scarred and untamed oil city that has fallen under the sway of Islamic fundamentalists, oil smugglers and petty tribal warlords. But if the British taught the police to shoot straight, they failed to instil a sense of unwavering loyalty to the State.

“We know the outcome of the fighting in advance because we already defeated the British in the streets of Basra and forced them to withdraw to their base,” Abu Iman told The Times.

“If we go back a bit, everyone remembers the fight with the US in Najaf and the damage and defeat we inflicted on them. Do you think the Iraqi Army is better than those armies? We are right and the Government is wrong. [Nouri al] Maliki [the Iraqi Prime Minister] is driving his Government into the ground.”

The reason for his apparent switch of sides was simple: the 36-year-old was already a member of the al-Mahdi Army which, like other militias, has massively infiltrated the British-trained police force in the southern oil city. He claimed that hundreds of others from the 16,000-strong force have also defected to the rebels’ ranks.Abu Iman joined the new Iraqi police force after the invasion, joining the Mugawil, a special police unit infamous for brutality, kidnapping and sectarian murders.

“We already heard two weeks ago that we were going to attack the Mahdi Army, so we were ready,” he said. “I decided to take off my uniform and join my brothers and friends in the Mahdi Army. All these years, we were like a scream in the face of the dictator and the occupation.” He said: “I joined the police because I believed we have to protect Basra and save it with our own hands. You can see we were the first fighters to take on Sadd-am and his regime, the best example being the Shabaniya uprising.”

Abu Iman said that the fighting raging in Basra yesterday was intense because the al-Mahdi Army was operating on its own turf. He was confident that the Shia militia would prevail because its cause was just.

“The Iraqi Army is already defeated from within. They come to Basra with fear in their hearts, knowing they have to fight their brothers, the sons of Iraq, because of an order from Bush and his friends in the Iraq Government. For this reason, all of the battles are going in the Mahdi Army’s favour.”

Major-General Abdelaziz Moham-med Jassim, the director of operations at the Ministry of Defence, played down reports of defections in the Basra police force. “The problem of one policeman doesn’t make up for the whole of the force,” he said.

In recent months Major-General Abdul Jalil Khalaf, Basra’s police chief, has tried to shake up the force and drive out militia infiltrators, who have wrought havoc in the past, often turning police stations into torture cells in which factions settled vendettas and power struggles with murder and abuse. But he only narrowly escaped an assassination attempt yesterday when a suicide car bomb attack in Basra killed three of his policemen. A local tribal leader said the police directorate building was later gutted by fire.

 

Mahdi Army holds firm as Iraqi PM risks all in battle of Basra

The Sunday Times
March 30, 2008

THE arrival of the Iraqi army supported by US warplanes did little to dent the defiance of Abu Sajad and his 22 comrades in a Shi’ite militia cell holed up in a mosque in Basra.

Alerted by a mobile phone call to the arrival of US military reinforcements, Abu Sajad calmly selected eight fighters and dispatched them to plant roadside bombs packed into red plastic fruit crates.

“We are to plant them throughout the Qaziza neighbourhood to welcome the army when they try to enter the area,” he told his men. He sent the bombers away on scooters and motorcycles which, he explained, were “quicker to move and less conspicuous . . . We have a great surprise for the army”.

As night fell after a fifth day of heavy fighting around Basra yesterday, Iraqi forces controlled by Nouri al-Maliki, the prime minister, were still struggling to subdue renegade Shi’ite fighters whose shifting loyalties and challenges to Baghdad rule have begun to pose a serious threat to American and British strategy.

Ragtag members of the Mahdi Army, a heavily armed militia loyal to Moqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shi’ite cleric with close links to Iran, vowed to fight to the death to prevent Maliki from imposing government control on the southern port at the heart of Iraq’s potentially hugely profitable oil industry.

“We have received a shipment of Strela antiaircraft rockets,” Abu Sajad boasted to a Sunday Times reporter.

“We intend to use them to prove to the world that the Mahdi Army will not allow Basra to be turned into a second Falluja [the former centre of anticoalition resistance that was crushed by US-led assaults].” President George W Bush praised Maliki and described the clashes as a “defining moment” for the Baghdad government’s attempts to curb Sadr’s influence and assert its own authority. But despite Bush’s approval, American officials are concerned that Maliki’s military gamble may cause serious embarrassment for the coalition forces.

US officials said the Iraqi prime minister had launched the assault on Tuesday without consulting Washington, but yesterday it was the Americans under fire again after claims that eight civilians had been killed in a US bombing raid.

The SAS was in Basra alongside Iraqi commanders, calling in attacks from RAF and US aircraft on “enemy combatants” as the death toll from five days of fighting across Iraq rose above 300, with hundreds wounded.

British artillery units destroyed a militia mortar position in support of Iraqi forces yesterday, a spokesman said. The mortar, in the al-Hala district of northern Basra, was positively identified by the British before they opened fire from their base at Basra international airport.

Basra’s hospitals filled with civilian casualties and the violence continued to spread through other cities, including the suburbs of Baghdad. The coalition’s five-year effort to bolster Iraqi democracy was under threat from factional strife on a difficult urban battlefield where rebel gunmen have long held sway on streets too narrow for armoured vehicles.

Maliki had flown to Basra to take personal control of the military operation. But instead of sweeping to a decisive victory with American guns at his side, he was stumbling into something that looked dangerously like stalemate yesterday.

Having originally imposed a 72-hour deadline for rebels to hand in their weapons, he was forced to extend it until April 8. Yesterday he vowed to remain in Basra until the resistance was crushed. “This is a decisive and final battle,” he said.

Sadr issued an equally robust directive, ordering his fighters to ignore Maliki’s ultimatum.

At stake in Basra was not just the prime minister’s reputation, his prospects for provincial elections this autumn and control of the Iraqi oil fields, but also an entire coalition strategy of reduced troop levels, steady withdrawal and the turning over of Iraqi security to local troops.

If Maliki’s crackdown fails, both London and Washington may have to reassess Iraqi army capabilities and the risk of future disaster if coalition forces continue to withdraw. “This is a precarious situation,” one US official said yesterday. “There’s a lot to be gained and a lot to lose.”

Already this weekend there were reports that police officers and soldiers had left their posts, changed their uniforms and joined the Mahdi Army.

When a local journalist left his home in Basra this weekend to visit the city’s main hospital, he found the streets deserted except for cruising police vehicles whose occupants were randomly firing in the air.

He eventually hitched a ride with an ambulance carrying a 14-year-old boy whose leg had nearly been severed by a burst of machinegun fire. “Most of the injured are being hurt by gunshots and rocket shrapnel that hits their homes,” the driver said.

Inside the hospital, blood-stained bandages were scattered across the floor. A 50-year-old woman was sobbing. Doctors said she had been told three hours earlier that her daughter had died from gunshot wounds and she had not stopped crying.

In a ward on the first floor, patients were groaning in pain. Doctors had run out of pain-killers and many pharmacies in the city were closed.

“The stench was awful in the wards and corridors,” the journalist said. “Patients and family members were cursing the government in both Basra and Baghdad and some were even lamenting the ‘good old days’ of Saddam Hussein.”

The situation at another hospital was so dire that Leith Chasseb, a 36-year-old civil servant, could not find a doctor to treat his father, who had a shrapnel wound to his leg.

In the al-Tamimiyeh district, Um Hiba, a 38-year-old mother of three, was standing with two of her daughters in the garden when a mortar exploded nearby, injuring all three of them. “We called the ambulance but they couldn’t get to us,” she said. “The neighbours supplied us with bandages.”

Dr Salah Amad, director of the city’s medical operations, said hospitals were about to collapse because of exhausted doctors and a lack of supplies. “Ambulances are unable to distribute medical supplies stocked in warehouses,” he said.

There were conflicting accounts of the incident in Basra’s Hananiyah district, where two women and a child were reportedly among eight civilians killed by an air strike. Iraqi police claimed that a US aircraft had carried out the strike, but British planes were also seen in the area.

There was no immediate comment from either British or US military spokesmen. American aircraft carried out further raids yesterday, dropping two precision-guided bombs on a suspected militia stronghold north of Basra.

In a separate raid, Iraqi special forces were said to have stormed a house in Basra, killing a father and his three sons, the youngest aged 13, in front his wife.

Maliki’s decision to crack down on Basra followed at least three years of rebel subversion that British troops had quelled for long periods but never eradicated. US officers often criticised their British counterparts for their hands-off approach in Basra, but nobody in Washington was inclined last week to blame London for a crisis rooted in internal Shi’ite rivalries and almost certainly beyond any coalition-imposed solution.

Yet the British withdrawal from Basra – leaving the city effectively in the hands of Maliki’s opponents – presented the prime minister with a difficult challenge. He could ill afford to allow Iraq’s second city to remain in the hands of extremist factions. “Basra has been a mess for a long time,” one US official in Baghdad told The Washington Post yesterday, “and everyone has said to Maliki, ‘What are you doing about it?’ ” With provincial elections looming in October and his authority on the line, Maliki took advantage of the security lull spawned by the so-called “surge” – the increased US military presence directed by General David Petraeus, the top US commander in Iraq. Under pressure to demonstrate that Iraqi forces were capable of operating without US officers holding their hands, he sent his army into battle.

Some national and local officials complained that the offensive had come as an unpleasant surprise. “Maliki did not consult the president, he did not consult the cabinet, he did not consult the parliament,” said a senior member of the government. “Nobody is happy with what’s happening.”

It was not long before US aircraft were reported to be mounting air strikes on Basra and US troops in armoured vehicles appeared to be taking the lead against Mahdi Army fighters in their vast Baghdad stronghold of Sadr City.

As rockets fell on Baghdad’s Green Zone, the comparative calm that had enveloped the city for weeks – allowing residents to sit in street cafes – was shattered. US officials insisted that this was not their fight and their only role was to provide Maliki with back-up if he needed it.

Some officials even suggested that the Basra operation would prove a model for future cooperation, with Iraqis taking the leading role and American troops adopting what Petraeus once described as “overwatch” mode.

Yet as the week wore on the American unease was palpable, not least because nobody seemed entirely sure who was fighting whom and what was the ultimate prize.

While some officials interpreted the offensive as Maliki’s “first salvo in upcoming elections”, others saw a simple power grab for oil. The intricate differences between rival Shi’ite groups in Basra and their presumed links to Iran were all minutely examined by intelligence officers. Yet on Friday one administration official admitted: “We can’t quite decipher what’s going on.”

If Maliki can somehow crush the resistance of the Mahdi Army, he may well prove to be the answer to America’s prayers for a leader with the muscle and authority to keep a lid on Sunni-Shi’ite rivalries and ultimately to allow the US military to withdraw.

Yet Mahdi warriors such as Haidar Abdul Abbas did not look too worried about defeat last week. A 24-year-old expert at firing rocket-propelled grenades, Abbas was wearing funeral shrouds, signalling his willingness to die in combat.

“The Maliki government is now fighting on behalf of the [coalition] occupiers, forgetting that history is never kind to those who oppress,” he said. “Their fate will be the same as that of Saddam.

Bush: Iraq is returning to normal
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/whitehouse/story/31825.html

Police refuse to support Iraqi PM’s attacks on Mehdi Army
http://www.independent..cks-on-mehdi-army-802361.html

British warplanes fire on Basra as civil war looms with Shia militia
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/iraq/article3642863.ece

Basra militants ’worse than al-Qa’eda’, says Iraqi prime minister Nuri al-Maliki
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/m..2008/03/29/wirq229.xml

Occupations are not won. They are ended
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbGY6txzM14

Fresh US airstrike kills 8 Iraqis
http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=49422&sectionid=351020201

Iraq’s Maliki backs off ultimatum to militants
http://news.yahoo.com/s/csm/20080329/wl_csm/osadr

Bush: Iraq violence is a ’very positive moment’
http://rawstory.com/news/200..positive_development_0327.html

Yesterday, 225 Iraqis, 4 Americans Were Killed; 538 Iraqis Hurt, Yet “Surge” Creator Says ’The Civil War in Iraq Is Over’
http://www.antiwar.com/updates/?articleid=12591

97% Of Deaths Came After Mission Accomplished
http://rawstory.com/news/2008/97_percent_of_US_death_toll_0324.html

Baghdad under 24-hour curfew as US is drawn into the violence
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/m..s/2008/03/28/wirq128.xml

Iraqi army suspected of committing mass executions
http://www.juancole.com/2008/03/dozen..lashes-mahdi-army.html

Troops To Stay In Afghanistan Until 2012
http://www.canada.com/news/story.html?id=401682

 



McCain: It’s “Common Knowledge” Iran Is Training Al Qaeda

McCain: It’s “Common Knowledge” That Iran Is Training Al Qaeda

Steve Watson
Infowars.net
March 18, 2008

http://youtube.com/watch?v=kmXaEeuHmig

During another photo-op flying visit to Iraq, John McCain told reporters that it is well known that Iran is training Al Qaeda terrorists, a patently ludicrous claim that had to be immediately corrected by his traveling circus.

Speaking to reporters in Amman, the Jordanian capital, McCain said he and two Senate colleagues traveling with him continue to be concerned about Iranian operatives “taking al-Qaeda into Iran, training them and sending them back.”

The Washington Post reports:

Pressed to elaborate, McCain said it was “common knowledge and has been reported in the media that al-Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran, that’s well known. And it’s unfortunate.” A few moments later, Sen. Joseph Lieberman, standing just behind McCain, stepped forward and whispered in the presidential candidate’s ear. McCain then said: “I’m sorry, the Iranians are training extremists, not al-Qaeda.”

As anyone with a rudimentary understanding of the conflict in Iraq and middle eastern politics knows, the insurgents now endlessly referred to as “Al-Qaeda in Iraq” are composed of mostly Sunni militants pitched in violent battle against Shi’ites and, by proxy, U.S. forces.

The reigning leaders in Iran are Shi’ite and have welcomed the emergence of a Shi’ite-led government in Iraq. To suggest they would also somehow train Sunni militants is totally backwards.

Indeed, Al Qaeda affiliated right wing terror groups in Iran are very much allied against the Ahmadinejad government and routinely carry out attacks aimed at Iranian soldiers and state figures.

Furthermore, the Bush administration has long asserted that elements of the Iranian security forces have been training and supplying weapons to Iraq’s Shi’ite militias, a claim Iran vigorously denies.

Read Full Article Here

 

McCain: Don’t Pull Troops From Iraq

Associated Press
March 18, 2008

Sen. John McCain, the Republican presidential nominee-in-waiting, said Tuesday that any hasty pullout from Iraq would be a mistake that would favor Iran and al-Qaida.

McCain, who has linked his political future to U.S. success in Iraq, was in the wartorn country on Monday for meetings with Iraqi and U.S. diplomatic and military officials.

“We were very encouraged by the success of the surge and the reduction in U.S. casualties,” McCain told reporters in Jordan, where he stopped on the next leg of a congressional visit that will also take him to Israel, Britain and France.

It was the senator’s eighth visit to Iraq, and his first since emerging as the presumed Republican candidate. He is accompanied by Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, an independent, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., two of his top supporters in the race for president.

“We are succeeding, but we still have a long way to go,” McCain said, pointing at what he described as al-Qaida’s residual power in Iraq and at Iran’s growing influence, as the major remaining threats.

Read Full Article Here

McCain advisor: Destroy Islam
http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=47232&sectionid=3510203

McCain, Cheney US in Iraq long-term
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080317/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iraq

John ’I’m a War Criminal’ McCain
http://www.lewrockwell.com/gaddy/gaddy34.html

McCain says al Qaeda might try to tip U.S. election
http://www.reuters.com/article/p..eedName=politicsNews&rpc=22&sp=true

McCain More Hawkish Than Bush on Russia, China, Iraq
http://news.yahoo.com/s/bloomberg/20080312/pl_bloomberg/axq0v7kuajq8

Lord Rothschild Supports McCain
http://www.washingtonpost.com..1403897.html?sid=ST2008031404122

‘Why Are You So Angry?’: McCain Gets Testy Over NYT Reporter’s Inquiry
http://youtube.com/watch?v=9_UFnOUJjRE

Bush offers to lie for McCain: ’If he wants me to say, ’You know, I’m not for him,’ I will. Whatever he wants me to do, I want him to win’
http://blog.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2008/03/07/