Late Evening News Reads: Iran…Israel…US…Timing is everything.

Good Evening

Today was a busy news day, as far as the number of unread feeds in my reader…However, for tonight’s evening reads I am going to stick with Iran, Israel and the US.

Quixote sent me this link earlier this evening.

Iran explosions prompt speculation of secret attacks | McClatchy

Unexplained attacks in Iran

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JERUSALEM — A series of mishaps at Iranian nuclear facilities and weapons sites may be part of a covert organized attack on Iran’s nuclear weapons program, according to Western intelligence officials.

An explosion last week outside Iran’s third largest city, Isfahan, is thought to be the most recent strike, though details on the intended target are still unclear. A sprawling military base and nuclear facilities are outside Isfahan, and intelligence officials across the Middle East said there was strong evidence that the explosion had done some “significant structural damage.”

“We have seen enough evidence to know something has happened, but we are unclear on what at this point,” said one Western diplomat whose work includes the region, speaking only on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. “There are a number of parties interested in sabotaging and weakening the Iranian regime.”

This is where the article takes an expected turn, as Dakinikat has speculated early last week, there are suggestions that Israel is behind these explosions.

The second such incident in as many weeks cast doubt on Iranian claims that these were “accidents” and “coincidences,” and it set off speculation of a coordinated attack by Israel, whose officials long have threatened a strike against Iran’s nuclear program. Israeli officials denied direct involvement, but the growing number of mysterious or unexplained blasts and deaths has many suspecting an official program of sabotage.

Israeli newspapers declared last week that Israel’s war with Iran already had begun, but that the Jewish state, rather than launch massive airstrikes, had decided on a method of covert action in cooperation with other groups. Statements by current and former Israeli officials were being parsed for clues but did little to clarify the issue.

Tell me if these responses don’t give you pause…

“There aren’t many coincidences, and when there are so many events there is probably some sort of guiding hand, though perhaps it’s the hand of God,” said Israel’s former head of internal security, Maj. Gen. Giora Eiland.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said: “We are not happy to see the Iranians move ahead on this (program), so any delay, be it divine intervention or otherwise, is welcome.”

Divine intervention…or did the dog do it?

It just seems like relations in the area have gone from bad to worse. This possible coordinated attacks from Israel may explain Panetta’s harsh language a few days ago:

Panetta to Israel: ‘Get to the Damn Table’ for Peace Talks « VOA Breaking News

The top U.S. defense official is warning Israel it cannot afford to further isolate itself from Arab neighbors in the Middle East.

During a forum in Washington late Friday, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Israel needs to start by getting back “to the damn table” and negotiating peace with the Palestinians. He also called on Israel to mend its fraying relationships with traditional partners like Turkey, Egypt and Jordan.

Some Israeli leaders have viewed the Arab Spring, and uprisings like the one that toppled long-time Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, as a threat to regional stability as well as to Israel’s security. But Panetta urged Israeli officials to reject that way of thinking.

Panetta said Israel has no choice but to take some risks to ensure a safer future, starting with resuming peace talks with the Palestinians, a process that Panetta said has “effectively been put on hold.”

In this Reuters India link, they published a bit more of Panetta’s comment to Israel:

Panetta: Israel must get to damn peace table | Reuters

Panetta, addressing a forum in Washington, also made one of his most extensive arguments to date against any imminent military action against Iran over its nuclear program, saying he was convinced that sanctions and diplomatic pressure were working.

“You always have the last resort … of military action. But it must be the last resort, not the first,” Panetta said.


He said Israel needed to take risks, including by breathing new life into moribund peace talks with Palestinians. When asked by a moderator what steps Israel needed to take to pursue peace, Panetta said: “Just get to the damn table.”

“The problem right now is we can’t get ’em to the damn table, to at least sit down and begin to discuss their differences,” Panetta said.

Panetta said the United States would safeguard Israel’s security, ensure regional stability and prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon — a goal Tehran denies having.

“Israel, too, has a responsibility to pursue these shared goals — to build regional support for Israeli and United States’ security objectives,” Panetta said.

“I believe security is dependent on a strong military but it is also dependent on strong diplomacy. And unfortunately, over the past year, we’ve seen Israel’s isolation from its traditional security partners in the region grow.”

Also heating up the already tense situation, is the recent US drone spy plane that was “brought” down by Iran…not by shooting it down, it looks like Iran was able to “hack” the drone. Reports are that Iran is in possession of the super secret spy plane.

Military sources confirmed that the Iranians have the RQ-170 drone, which is so advanced that the U.S. Air Force has not distributed even a photo of it. However, they did not say that the Iranians shot down the spy plane, as was reported by Iran’s official IRNA news agency.

I realize that link goes to Fox, but and Reuters are reporting this news as well.

Iran is still sticking with the “shot down” story for now, there is also a warning from the Iran military, from FARS News Agency: Fars News Agency :: Iran Warns of Wider Response to US Spy Missions

“Given the flagrant violation of our country’s borders, the electronic and operational actions of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Armed Forces against the enemy planes will not be limited to the country’s borders,” an Iranian official told FNA.

The official had also informed FNA on Sunday afternoon that the country’s forces had downed a US RQ-170 Sentinel drone over the Eastern parts of the country.

“An advanced RQ-170 unmanned American spy plane was shot down by Iran’s armed forces. It suffered minor damage and is now in possession of Iran’s Armed Forces,” a military official told FNA on Sunday.

In similar remarks, military sources told Iran’s Arabic language Al Alam television that Tehran will intensify its response to the United States’ spying operations.

“The Iranian military’s response to the American spy drone’s violation of our airspace will not be limited to Iran’s borders any more,” a military source told Al Alam, without giving details.

After a day of silence, both Pentagon and NATO officials acknowledged the shooting down of their Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) in eastern Iran, alleging that the aircraft with a mission to fly over western Afghanistan had gone astray.

The drone had been downed with help from the Iranian military’s electronic warfare unit.

The military official warned of a strong and crushing response to any violations of the country’s airspace by American drone aircraft.

Then there is this bit of news from The Telegraph: Iran’s Revolutionary Guards prepare for war – Telegraph

An order from Gen Mohammed Ali Jaafari, the commander of the guards, raised the operational readiness status of the country’s forces, initiating preparations for potential external strikes and covert attacks.

Western intelligence officials said the Islamic Republic had initiated plans to disperse long-range missiles, high explosives, artillery and guards units to key defensive positions.

The order was given in response to the mounting international pressure over Iran’s nuclear programme. Preparation for a confrontation has gathered pace following last month’s report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna that produced evidence that Iran was actively working to produce nuclear weapons.

The Iranian leadership fears the country is being subjected to a carefully co-ordinated attack by Western intelligence and security agencies to destroy key elements of its nuclear infrastructure.

Recent explosions have added to the growing sense of paranoia within Iran, with the regime fearing it will be the target of a surprise military strike by Israel or the US.

Now, I realize the Telegraph and Fox News have their particular bias…but the story from FARS shows that relations between Israel, Iran and the US are getting more heated.

Of course, I have not mentioned the recent attack on the British Embassy in Iran.  It all just makes me very uncomfortable…and also at the heart of all this mess…is oil.  Iran, Facing New Sanctions, Warns of Oil at $250 a Barrel –

Alarmed by the possibility of new Western penalties that could abruptly reduce or even halt its oil exports, Iran issued a warning on Monday that crude oil prices could more than double to $250 a barrel if such sanctions were given serious consideration.

The warning, issued by the Foreign Ministry, appeared to be part of an attempt by Iran to intimidate its adversaries as tensions grow. Western nations stepped up their efforts to isolate Iran diplomatically after mobs stormed and vandalized Britain’s diplomatic facilities in Tehran less than a week ago, evoking stark images of the United States Embassy takeover after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The assault was widely criticized, even by some of Iran’s friends.

The price of oil today did not “jump” because of this threat…there was little change in trading today.

Iran is the third-largest exporter of oil, after Saudi Arabia and Russia. Its biggest customers —China, the European Union, India, Japan, and South Korea — together account for two-thirds of total Iranian oil exports, according to an analysis published by the Energy Information Administration in the United States. Reduced orders from just one of those customers could be disruptive for Iran, where the economy is already suffering from the accumulated effects of other sanctions.

After the assault on the British Embassy, European Union ministers said they would give serious consideration to an oil embargo at a meeting in January, and the United States Senate voted 100 to 0 for legislation that would penalize any foreign bank that does business with Iran’s central bank.

The Senate measure, meant to use access to the United States market as leverage in isolating Iran, is not yet law and could be modified. But analysts said that such a measure, if enforced, could wreak havoc on Iran’s oil industry, because the central bank is the main conduit for receipts from oil sales.

“At some point, sanctions become an act of war,” said Vali Nasr, a professor at Tufts University and an expert on Iranian affairs. “If you cut Iran out of the oil market, this is no longer economic pressure.”

What do you all think? It is making me a little nervous. With tensions escalating in Pakistan, and the Afghani president talking about resurgence of the Taliban…

The United States is vacating an air base in Pakistan at Islamabad’s request following a NATO attack that killed two dozen Pakistani soldiers.

U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter told Pakistan’s Waqt TV on Monday that the United States is leaving Shamsi Air Base in Balochistan Province southwest of Quetta. U.S. drones have taken off from the base and refueled there for operations against Islamic militants, according to sources familiar with U.S. drone operations in Pakistan.

The order to clear out of the base comes in the aftermath of a November 26 incident in which a NATO airstrike killed 24 Pakistani troops.

The Taliban could make a comeback and take over Afghanistan again, Afghan President Hamid Karzai warned on Monday at the Bonn Conference. “If we lose this fight, we are threatened with a return to a situation like that before Sept 11, 2001,” Karzai said.

There has been progress in Afghanistan since the overthrow of the Taliban in the wake of the hijacked plane attacks on the United States, he said. But, he warned: “Our shared goal of a stable, self-reliant Afghanistan is far from being achieved”.

Seems like all the “alert” messages are being sent.

And what does the US Main Stream Media have to say about all this drone business…Don’t worry…the drone fell to earth from such a high altitude…it must be in little, tiny pieces…so Iran can’t get much insight or information from that. Experts: Iran capture of stealth drone no worry – CBS News

“This is a high-flying unmanned aircraft that malfunctioned and then fell to earth. It’s likely to be broken up into hundreds of pieces.”


“Are we going to stop flying them? No. Was it a secret we were flying them? No,” said Pike. “Did Iran shoot it down? Probably not. Because Iranian air defenses are not very good, and it is a good stealth vehicle. And did Iranian hackers hack into it and bring it down? No. It’s just too hard to do.”

So say the “experts.”

This is a serious situation, and I worry it will be just another reason to step up the US military presence in the region, especially now that we are winding down in Afghanistan and Iraq. The 2012 election is also in the back of my mind…the timing seems to be one of the key coincidences in all this. We also have the triggered spending cuts that should be cutting into the military budget, so again my thoughts go back to the timing.

Timing is everything.

The European Union and its growing money troubles, austerity and cut backs…the US Economy and the corruption of  back room secret deals…people are going to need something to make them forget the elected (and not elected) people and corporations that got us into this mess.

But what do I know, I am just someone who lives in a small town in the American South.  I see all the things going on in the world from my laptop…things that I know are wrong or corrupt or manipulated to get the planned responses. Whether it be a rise in fear, so that more military spending is accepted, or the planned trillion dollars in bailouts, both public and secret, that “pay off” all those fat cat campaign contributors….or the possible terrorist attacks that bring about the acceptance of security measures so that more 85-year-old grandmothers can be striped search. (Yes, that now brings the total to three old women getting stripped searched at the same JFK terminal.)

Every day I feel more and more dejected and despondent and depressed. What makes it even worse is the feeling of abandonment from politicians and elected  officials that are supposed to act in our best interest…like sheep being led to slaughter, we are just wandering down the turnstiles and being directed which ever way the controlling class and media want us to move.

I wish I could have a better post for you tonight, that link Quixote sent was a good one, and I fear that I did not do it justice.

I’m just a silent sheep in Banjoland, no expert in foreign policy or military matters…and Iran and Israel are half a world away…but from the screen of my laptop, I see the problem growing…and I see all the ways it can be manipulated and used for other people’s advantage, and that makes me a little more concerned for what is coming…and my fear is that it will be something big.

18 Comments on “Late Evening News Reads: Iran…Israel…US…Timing is everything.”

  1. Minkoff Minx says:

    Sorry this was late, it took me longer to write this post…

    • bostonboomer says:

      Thanks for writing it. It’s very interesting (and disturbing).

      • dakinikat says:

        I am even later reading it. I was so exhausted from yesterday’s chase to get some one to notarize a w-9 form I fell asleep early. I can’t believe how I am continually asked to prove I’m not a terrorist and not undocumented these days just because I want to work and take a plane somewhere. I thought show me your papers was something you only saw in old movies about Nazis and Stalin.

  2. Branjor says:

    If Israel is behind the explosions in Iran, why would Iran be motivated to call them accidents or coincidences?

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      I don’t think Iran is admitting to anything…as far as the explosions are concerned.

    • quixote says:

      One possibility is that they don’t want to let others in the Middle East know US / Israel is successfully disrupting them. Takes away from their image as the Big Boyz on the Block.

      • dakinikat says:

        I would think saying you’re being attacked by Israel would drum up regional sympathy.

      • quixote says:

        True. But from a more testosterone-fogged standpoint, admitting some foreign power is running amok in your country, sucessfully no less, is not a sign of power. I’m guessing looking powerful is a bigger deal than getting sympathy.

  3. ralphb says:

    The Hollywood Starlet Who Made Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Possible

    Who doesn’t love Hedy Lamarr, the Austrian-born movie actress who starred in such classic movies as 1941′s Ziegfeld Girl or 1944′s Experiment Perilous? Of course, if the life of a glamorous movie star of the black and white era doesn’t interest you, there’s also the minor fact that she invented a device that would eventually lead to the development of GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technology.

    Hooray for beautiful, brilliant women. Now to go read the post.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      No…that’s Hedley!

      But seriously, I saw a review of the book about that in the NYT Book Review yesterday, interesting stuff. She was also a spy for the US…

  4. ralphb says:

    I remember reading earlier about some virus that had infected the US drone fleet, but no specifics. I wonder if something like that could be involved in that drone coming down?

  5. northwestrain says:

    Emptywheel has some interesting observations about the Drone — and the possible hijack of the drone follows the computer virus which recorded key strokes at one of the Drone bases. Emptywheel also reported and remarked on the Wired article and the hacking of the drone software.

    There are skilled hackers world wide — and apparently it would be impossible for a drone to be brought down — according to folks who have experience in the Defense industry.


    Strip searching — exposing old women — and then lying that they are groping these women — next the excuse is well . . . the TSA has no f***ink idea what the hell they are doing — because a terrorist could be a little old lady. Security Theater — TSA has no idea what they are doing — the creeps hired to sexually molest passengers have no training. TSA has been strip searching babies as well — and pregnant women (I’ve seen the photos and Utube to verify that the claims of being violated are accurate). Women have been exposed since this security theater started — shirts opened — sweat shirts lifted. Most likely the TSA hires all the perverts they can find.

    Oh — and apparently some Israeli agents have been training the police how to handle the OWS protesters (Max Bluemthal is the source of this report. Any negative reporting is treated as racism — even if the reporter happens to be Jewish. The truth is the truth — the cops have been getting special training somewhere.) . The first person accounts of the abuse by the cops sounds very close to what the US military was doing to the Iraqi prisoners. Sexual humiliation — deliberate torture — using the plastic hand cuffs as torture tools. Protester leaving jail and not having any feeling in their hands. (See Firedoglake — for first person accounts of police torture.)

    USA police state —

  6. djmm says:

    Very interesting post. Looks like whoever has been making hits in Iran did it planned for deniability.


  7. incaunipocrit says:

    Reblogged this on Vasile Roata.

  8. jawbone says:

    Bernard at Moon of AL has this post up about the stealth drone “downing.”

    There seems to be a concensus that drone v. drone warfare will be impossible given the technology (such as taking control of other nations’ drones) being developed. It will mean that soon mean the US loses it’s advantage of being among the only powers able to use drones.

    My take is that then the drones will be used domenstically — against we the people.