January 17, 2012

"False Flag"

From Foreign Policy:
False Flag 
A series of CIA memos describes how Israeli Mossad agents posed as American spies to recruit members of the terrorist organization Jundallah to fight their covert war against Iran. 
BY MARK PERRY | JANUARY 13, 2012 
Buried deep in the archives of America's intelligence services are a series of memos, written during the last years of President George W. Bush's administration, that describe how Israeli Mossad officers recruited operatives belonging to the terrorist group Jundallah by passing themselves off as American agents. According to two U.S. intelligence officials, the Israelis, flush with American dollars and toting U.S. passports, posed as CIA officers in recruiting Jundallah operatives -- what is commonly referred to as a "false flag" operation.

Jundallah is supposedly a Sunni terrorist group from Baluchistan, the desert on both sides of the Iran-Pakistan border, that blows up people in Iran to show their opposition to Iran being a Shi'ite state. Perry goes on:
The memos, as described by the sources, one of whom has read them and another who is intimately familiar with the case, investigated and debunked reports from 2007 and 2008 accusing the CIA, at the direction of the White House, of covertly supporting Jundallah -- a Pakistan-based Sunni extremist organization. Jundallah, according to the U.S. government and published reports, is responsible for assassinating Iranian government officials and killing Iranian women and children. 
But while the memos show that the United States had barred even the most incidental contact with Jundallah, according to both intelligence officers, the same was not true for Israel's Mossad. The memos also detail CIA field reports saying that Israel's recruiting activities occurred under the nose of U.S. intelligence officers, most notably in London, the capital of one of Israel's ostensible allies, where Mossad officers posing as CIA operatives met with Jundallah officials. 
The officials did not know whether the Israeli program to recruit and use Jundallah is ongoing. Nevertheless, they were stunned by the brazenness of the Mossad's efforts.
"It's amazing what the Israelis thought they could get away with," the intelligence officer said. "Their recruitment activities were nearly in the open. They apparently didn't give a damn what we thought." 
Interviews with six currently serving or recently retired intelligence officers over the last 18 months have helped to fill in the blanks of the Israeli false-flag operation. In addition to the two currently serving U.S. intelligence officers, the existence of the Israeli false-flag operation was confirmed to me by four retired intelligence officers who have served in the CIA or have monitored Israeli intelligence operations from senior positions inside the U.S. government. 
... The [2008 CIA] report then made its way to the White House, according to the currently serving U.S. intelligence officer. The officer said that Bush "went absolutely ballistic" when briefed on its contents. 
"The report sparked White House concerns that Israel's program was putting Americans at risk," the intelligence officer told me. "There's no question that the U.S. has cooperated with Israel in intelligence-gathering operations against the Iranians, but this was different. No matter what anyone thinks, we're not in the business of assassinating Iranian officials or killing Iranian civilians." 
Israel's relationship with Jundallah continued to roil the Bush administration until the day it left office, this same intelligence officer noted. Israel's activities jeopardized the administration's fragile relationship with Pakistan, which was coming under intense pressure from Iran to crack down on Jundallah. It also undermined U.S. claims that it would never fight terror with terror, and invited attacks in kind on U.S. personnel. 
"It's easy to understand why Bush was so angry," a former intelligence officer said. "After all, it's hard to engage with a foreign government if they're convinced you're killing their people. Once you start doing that, they feel they can do the same." 
A senior administration official vowed to "take the gloves off" with Israel, according to a U.S. intelligence officer. But the United States did nothing -- a result that the officer attributed to "political and bureaucratic inertia." 
"In the end," the officer noted, "it was just easier to do nothing than to, you know, rock the boat." Even so, at least for a short time, this same officer noted, the Mossad operation sparked a divisive debate among Bush's national security team, pitting those who wondered "just whose side these guys [in Israel] are on" against those who argued that "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." 
The debate over Jundallah was resolved only after Bush left office when, within his first weeks as president, Barack Obama drastically scaled back joint U.S.-Israel intelligence programs targeting Iran, according to multiple serving and retired officers. ...
What has become crystal clear, however, is the level of anger among senior intelligence officials about Israel's actions. "This was stupid and dangerous," the intelligence official who first told me about the operation said. "Israel is supposed to be working with us, not against us. If they want to shed blood, it would help a lot if it was their blood and not ours. You know, they're supposed to be a strategic asset. Well, guess what? There are a lot of people now, important people, who just don't think that's true." 

In tribute to Obama, you gotta figure that this realization probably wasn't as big of a surprise to him as it was to Bush.

Anyway, lately, I have a hard time getting too worked up over this kind of thing. It's a little bit like when some college football team puts together a dynasty and then, surprise, surprise, gets suspended by the NCAA (e.g., USC). They just kind of wanted it more. These days, Israel just kind of wants to win at the Great Game more. It's their hobby.

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

The story doesn't add up. The US has thrown out several major Israeli diplomatic officials over far more minor slights, but lets the Mossad chief Meir Dagan come and go in Washington despite furious "anger" over something this major.

The story also claims that Obama worked against American interests in Iran out of spite against Israel. Also wildly implausible.

Perry doesn't like Israel, and seems to get snowed by bad sources when they coincide with his wishful thinking. A scoop he had about Petraeus and Israel ended up being refuted.

Craig Monteilh said...

Does FP even spend money on investigative reporting any more? Do they just have a Dropbox team account where various Senior Intelligence Officers upload their leak-craft?

RKU said...

Wow!! I'm sure we'll see a banner-headline story in tomorrow's NYT and WSJ and WashPost! Ha, ha, ha...

Ha, ha, ha... More likely, we'll see yet another sweeping purge of the CIA and Foreign Policy magazine will soon be defunded or "redirected"...

Most people---including lots of the commenters here---are just so stupid I think they mostly use their brains to keep their skulls warm.

Anonymous said...

I guess the Mossad took the USS Liberty story too much too heart.

Anyway, look out Israel, don't cross the USA or get our guys killed or we'll be very cross. Very cross indeed. We may even tell you that, if it won't make you mad.

P.S. Please don't tell AIPAC we were cross at you.

Polynices said...

Why the hell aren't we in the business of assassinating Iranian officials? Not like they haven't been at war with us for 33 years and counting. Say what you will about the Israelis, at least they have testicles.

Anonymous said...

"Not like they haven't been at war with us for 33 years and counting."

Last time I looked "Iran" wasn't at war with the USA and hasn't been -ever. To the USA Iran is just another 2 bit country 10,000 miles away. Other than Oil there's no reason for us to care.

You know who we really need to keep an eye on? Paraguay, they're sneaky bastards. And they want to rule the world - JUST LIKE HITLER!!!

Anonymous said...

Hard getting too worked up over it, so you...made a bitchy post about it.

Got it. Jews need to die.

Whiskey said...

No, Israel does not want to get nuked. That has been their objective day one -- don't get nuked, don't get destroyed by enemies in the region who are far bigger than they are.

Israel at best can withstand about a month of war, maybe at the outside two (that is a major war like Yom Kippur, not a minor thing like Gaza or Lebanon). They are tiny and very thin demographically. Not much defensive terrain. Enemies who make no secret daily of their desire to wipe them out.

That tends to make them aggressive, though it is an open question WHO (or which group of nations) is aiding BOTH Iranian and Pakistani separatists.

My guess is that the Israelis and Saudis both have been funding anti-Iran separatist/terrorist groups, because both fear Iran and don't trust a US security umbrella.

Would EITHER Israel or Saudi jeopardize US security guarantees if they MEANT anything? The answer is likely to be no. But a guarantee that means little, or nothing really at all, is likely be laughed at.

[I don't think this was a US operation, given that it would have been leaked to hurt Bush during his term in office.]

The Saudis are scared spit-less over Iran's threats to turn the Gulf into an Iranian lake (and implicitly break up Saudi by sponsoring Shia separatism). So back at them, likely, with their pals the Pakistanis on the border, conveniently. No doubt the Israelis have been there for years.

All of that is minor, an annoyance, not seriously threatening Iran's regime. Or power.

Still tit for tat. Blow up Israeli embassies in places like Buenos Aires, expect it back at you.

WE should have bombed Tehran after Khobar Towers, and other actions (like Iranians blowing up troops in Iran and Afghanistan) to send a message.

Ultimately there will be War with Iran, because Iran is intent on making oil at $200 a barrel or more, and we want it less than $100. We want control over the Gulf and Iran wants it. Thus, War. On their terms or ours. At their choosing or ours. But there is War coming -- neither side can fudge or compromise on their goals they are mutually exclusive.

Anonymous said...

Not like they haven't been at war with us for 33 years and
and what made them decide to declare 'war' on a country 6000 miles away?did some iranian come across our declaration of independence and decide they 'hate our freedoms'?

Grammar Nazi's Less Obtrusive Cousin said...

this realization probably wasn't as big of a surprise

Someone will complain about the non-standard use of "of" in five, four, three…

(Sailer either really doesn't understand the issue here or he does and nonetheless uses that idiom whenever possible to annoy the person who keeps complaining about it.)

Noah172 said...

Anyway, lately, I have a hard time getting too worked up over this kind of thing. It's a little bit like when some college football team puts together a dynasty and then, surprise, surprise, gets suspended by the NCAA (e.g., USC). They just kind of wanted it more. These days, Israel just kind of wants to win at the Great Game more. It's their hobby.

I hope that this is facetious. If the Perry article is accurate, then the Israelis are playing truly diabolical tricks to manipulate goyisch America into doing the dirty work of fighting Iran. If true, these acts are evil, pure 200-proof evil. Thousands, maybe tens of thousands of Americans will die for nothing, hundreds of thousands of Iranians will die for nothing, trillions of dollars will spent -- or lost because of what such a war would inflict on the world economy -- for nothing. This is not a laughing matter, people.

This story needs a thorough and very public investigation. The Israelis do this sort of thing. They used fake European passports to get into the UAE for that assassination of some Hamas(?) guy a year or so ago.

Before the Law there stands a guard said...

@Grammar Nazi's Less Obtrusive Cousin

> big of a surprise

Are you sure that's non-standard? It sounds good to me. Maybe you and the complainer are just young, and it's becoming less common or something. If it's unusual now, well IMO the 'of' is just implied.

Anonymous said...

Nevertheless, they were stunned by the brazenness of the Mossad's efforts.

I am shocked, shocked to learn that Israel wants US-Iran, US-Pakistan relations to go sour.

Paul Rain said...

Anonymous: ''hate our freedoms'?' This is stupid. As long as Westerners allow their economy to depend on resources that Westerners developed, but which they gave to Arab ferals, the fact that they hate us matters. The Israelis realize that the Arabs (ok.. it's imprecise.. there are Lebanese and Kurdish nationalists who could form a real society) cannot be saved. Until we got over a dependence on the Arabs for things we gave to them, we need to kill them as parsimoniously as possible.

Felix said...

It's not that Israel "wants to win more" while America doesn't. It's that Israel is controlled by an ethnically Jewish elite, an elite that has the interest of the country at heart. In America's case, the above statement is only half true.

Difference Maker said...

The story doesn't add up. The US has thrown out several major Israeli diplomatic officials over far more minor slights, but lets the Mossad chief Meir Dagan come and go in Washington despite furious "anger" over something this major.

Probably over spats with other Jews.

but lets the Mossad chief Meir Dagan come and go in Washington despite furious "anger" over something this major.

A public breach wouldn't be so good for image and relations :)

Perry doesn't like Israel, and seems to get snowed by bad sources when they coincide with his wishful thinking.

Which has since been clarified and refuted-refuted, as it were.

Eric said...

In tribute to Obama, you gotta figure that this realization probably wasn't as big of a surprise to him as it was to Bush.

Why would anyone tell him?

morleysafer said...

Hard getting too worked up over it, so you...made a bitchy post about it.-- Actually the USC football part was added at some point after the post went live. Three UCLA grads in my immediate family so I appreciated that bitchiness on the spot

Difference Maker said...

Perry doesn't like Israel, and seems to get snowed by bad sources when they coincide with his wishful thinking.

Which has since been clarified and refuted-refuted, as it were.


Whoops, dropped the last sentence; properly, the quote should read:

Perry doesn't like Israel, and seems to get snowed by bad sources when they coincide with his wishful thinking. A scoop he had about Petraeus and Israel ended up being refuted.

A refutation that was later refuted.

dearieme said...

If Israel ever loses, they'll all get their throats cut. What would you do in that position? (It's no use saying that their ancestors were bloody fools to pursue Zionism - that's water under the bridge.)

Jeff Burton said...

The agents were Americans posing as Mossad posing as Americans. Trust me.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

Hard getting too worked up over it, so you...made a bitchy post about it.

Got it. Jews need to die."

We certainly get what you're saying: any criticism of Israel, or recognition that Israel's may diverge from that of America, could only have been made by a nazi. If we ever disagree with you, we are nazis.

Yeah, we get it. Do you think that attitude wins friends to your cause?

Chicago said...

Some of those Jundallah members, including a couple of leaders, were captured and executed by the Iranians. They ended up as pawns in other peoples' intrigues. It's all a very cynical game where the lives of all those who get involved are expendable, the very lowest level of amorality and double crossing possible.

Anonymous said...

"Got it. Jews need to die."

Or more accurately, Americans need to die fighting other people's wars.

W Baker said...

"Great game"???? What "great game"? To take over more sand, or "greater" Palestine? It's not like they have a raj anywhere but the US.

Israel has already lost the demographic game, if it ever was in it. There's no way they're getting anymore sand from Lebanon, Egypt, or Jordan. They might try to throw their weight around with a few stone-throwers in Gaza, or build some section 8 housing in the West Bank, but that's it.

A game of tiddlywinks.

Ivan Drago said...

Of course, this story doesn't quote anyone on the record or provide a link to the documents referenced, so we have no way of knowing:

1) the context of the documents;
2) who prepared them, and whether they should be trusted;
3) if the documents even exist;
4) who theese "intelligence officers" are, and what their motivations might be;
5) if these "intelligence officers" are in a position to know what they claim to know;
6) if these "intelligence officers" even exist.

The entire story is an exercise in taking Mark Perry's word for it. But hey, if you can't trust a former Yasser Arafat adviser, who can you trust?

Baloo said...

With friends like these.... Good post, Steve. This is commented on and linked, with lots of other links added, HERE by EX-ARMY.

Anonymous said...

Anyway, lately, I have a hard time getting too worked up over this kind of thing...


Was she 'executed'? Iranian molecular scientist, 30, shot dead in car outside her Texas home while talking on cell phone to ex-boyfriend
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 5:11 PM on 18th January 2012
dailymail.co.uk

Detectives investigating the murder of an Iranian molecular scientist gunned down in her car as she drove home believe she was followed or that someone was waiting for her...





Anonymous said...

I am shocked, shocked to learn that Israel is running black ops designed to make US-Iran, US-Pakistan relations go sour.

FTFY. YW.

http://svigor.wordpress.com/

Anonymous said...

Wow!! I'm sure we'll see a banner-headline story in tomorrow's NYT and WSJ and WashPost! Ha, ha, ha...

:)

Anonymous said...

So the Israelis are so poor at tradecraft that even the CIA can find out about this stuff? (These are the same folks who didn't realize that they had a co-employment arrangement with the KGB for the services of Aldrich Ames.) Sounds more like a planted leak to (a) allow the US to play "good cop" with the Iranians, and (b) make the Iranians fear the Mossad even more than they already do.

RKU said...

On an entirely different topic, pity the sad plight of one of Fido's hard-working and dependable muscle cells, forced to watch helplessly as complete control of the poor pooch's central nervous system is seized by the rabies virus, although the latter never amounts to more than a mere 0.001% of the total body-mass.

The more complex the organism, the more vulnerable it may be to insidious parasitic attacks...

Anonymous said...

I expect the Obama Administration to administer a stern finger wagging at the Israelis. Hold nothing back, a stern finger wagging- at least 30 seconds. Also a frown and a statement of official disappointment with our existentially essential allies.

Well perhaps the frown and statement are extreme; I need to do some soul searching about why I called for such drastic measures. Am I closet Nazi? Help me Dispensationalist Jesus!

NOT said...

I wonder how common this sort of thing is. In general, you probably don't want to tell terrorists who they're actually getting weapons from, in case of blowback. I would guess, given their big sources of immigrants over the years, that Mossad can do a very good job impersonating American or Russian spies. (By contrast, they probably don't have a huge number of people who can carry off a convincing impersonation of a Chinese spy.)

Anonymous said...

"It's their hobby."

Their hobby? Are you high?

Israelis may be foolish, bigoted, stupid, or downright evil ... but they're sure as Hell not doing what they're doing because they think they're playing a game. Unless the game is "chess with Death", at any rate.


--Erich Schwarz

Maguro said...

It's more than a hobby. It's called survival, baby.

Jacob Roberson said...

Whiskey said...Would EITHER Israel or Saudi jeopardize US security guarantees if they MEANT anything? The answer is likely to be no.

Saudi and Israeli governments wouldn't do anything crazy? Can I visit the magic castle you live in?

(Just that bit jumped at me, not everything you said.)

NOTA said...

Somewhat related and maybe worth talking about: Glenn Greenwald has an entertaining blog post up about the use of anti-semitism accusations to silence people, including a fair bit of information about an organized smear campaign against some writers for being insufficiently enthusiastic about our support for Israel and our urgent need to bomb Iran back to the stone age.
.
The most interesting aspect about the story Greenwald is reporting is the way it gives us a window on how opinions expressed in the media are controlled, despite the lack of a formal mechanism for censoring anyone. If you're wondering why some stories get emphasized and others de-emphasized, why some facts aren't reported (the race of the criminal and victim in a brutal black-on-white crime, say), why some apparently obvious facts are rarely stated, I think the threat of this kind of organized smear is a pretty good explanation.

Gene Berman said...

Noah 172:

You're not too clear about what the Israelis did that was wrong.

Was it assassinating the Hamas guy
(killing people is bad)? Or was it in using falsified identification documents?

I guess it must be the latter, noting that our helicopter-borne SEAL crew didn't use any such low-life deceptive tactics on their Bin Laden mission.

Mr. Anon said...

"Maguro said...

It's more than a hobby. It's called survival, baby."

Nonsense. Iran is no more likely to use nuclear weapons against Israel than the Soviet Union was to use them against America. The Iranians want nuclear weapons for the same reason that every other nation that wants them wants them.....as a deterrent.