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    but do you want America to win!!?!?!..., 2006-11-14 11:24:01 | Main | violations of the somali arms embargo..., 2006-11-14 19:52:07

    your anti-iranian propaganda pitches for tuesday, november the 14th:

    Today the Telegraph re-stirs this old story from 2005 to attack Blair's speech yesterday about forming a "new partnership" with Iran. The story from 2005 goes like this:

    A "top-ranking Western secret service agent" has told Cicero magazine that the senior al-Qaeda operatives, who fled across the border from Afghanistan into Iran after the fall of the Taliban regime in late 2001, have been provided with a secure hiding place, logistical support and equipment by the Revolutionary Guards.

    Iran claimed that it put the al-Qaeda leaders under house arrest after they crossed the border, saying it would put them on trial. But there has been no legal action and Teheran has also ignored requests from Saudi Arabia and the West for access to the wanted men.

    United States intelligence sources have told the Sunday Telegraph that the group was living in compounds in eastern Iran guarded by al-Qaeda bodyguards. There have also been persistent but unconfirmed reports that bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, might be in hiding near the Afghan-Iranian border rather than Afghanistan's frontier with Pakistan.

    The 25 members of the Iran-backed al-Qaeda hierarchy are said to include bin Laden's oldest son Saad, often mentioned as an heir to his father, and his siblings Mohammed and Othman; the senior commander Saif al-Adel, who is the number three in the network's military structure; and a spokesman Sulaiman abu Ghaith.

    I love how almost every detail is sourced entirely to anonymous western "intelligence" officials. Why? Most of this could be sourced properly to public statements by Iranians in the press that these anonymous western officials probably picked the stories from. For instance, how and why do we know there are AQ "hiding" in Iran? Duh, Iran offered them to us three years ago, when they put everything on the table and "top Bush administration officials, convinced the Iranian government was on the verge of collapse, belittled the initiative", in May of 2003, specifically:

    Iran at one point offered to extradite Sayf al-Adel, whom it claimed to have under arrest, in exchange for Mujahideen-e Khalq Organization leaders, but Washington rejected the offer.

    Instead our very own real GWOT zealots invited the MEK to Washington. Of course al-Adel, a.k.a. Muhammad Ibrahim Makkawi, is an old Afghan Mujahideen, recruited to the Afghan campaign from the Egyptian special forces, where he was a colonel. It's almost inconcievable coming from Egypt's special forces that Yet Another Number 3 Al-Qaeda leader here isn't himself just an old CIA asset gone bad, but you won't find much about his days in Charlie Wilson's war for all his currency among gwotters. Irrelevant, I suppose, how we helped create this mess.

    And so on, the Telegraph spinning otherwise public information into a tinhat conspiracy and sourcing it all to anonymous western officials, presumably this would give it credibility, if anonymous western officials still had any credibility with anybody anymore but a narrow fringe of expert loons.

    One detail sourced vaguely to Iran is that trials were promised but not have been reported. The promise to hold trials was reported after 5/2003 - when the Bush administration berated the Swiss envoy for bringing the Iranian proposal to them - Iran turned around and in August proposed putting their remaining AQ on trial in Iran's courts, after reportedly deporting the rest back to their home countries: "Asefi, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, said Sunday that Iran had given the U.N. Security Council the names of 225 suspected al-Qaeda operatives it detained and returned to their countries". Did they actually do that? Who knows. You'd think somebody could confirm with the UN, but any cooperation from Iran has to get stuffed down the memory hole of our collective nomind.

    Now the claim is that the Iranians are turning their remaining AQ detainees into a militant proxy army, or something. Whatever it is: no reason to quote Anonymous Western Intelligence Officials in 2005 when you can source the story to an Iranian in 2003! This conjecture originates from the offices of old Iran-contra hand Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who's advisor, Said (Saeed) Leylaz, told the Guardian, "Iranian radical conservatives believe that we should cooperate with al-Qaida and turn them into another Hamas. The main policy of these radicals is to militarise the situation in Iran to survive, so they need America's hostility - and unfortunately the US adds fuel to their fire."

    This is in August 2003: as Rafsanjani is fighting a major election campaign running against - duh - "radical-conservative" Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, an advisor to Rafsanjani's campaign comes out and starts claiming that Ahmadinejad is going to effectively provoke an American attack at a time when the Iranian electorate is extremely frightened of exactly that, having just watched the Al Jazeera broadcast of our invasion of Iraq 3 months earlier. It's a little like a campaign commercial with a little girl picking flowers that suddenly cuts to a nuclear explosion.

    Good old-fashioned, dirty Iranian politics. Now that claim gets recycled once more, ascribed to ubiquitous Anonymous Western Intelligence Officials, and used to attack Tony Blair's very limited interest in a reproachment with Iran in some good, old-fashioned, dirty British (and trans-Atlantic , the AWIOs are surely Americans) politics.

    This recycling of a recycled claim from an Iranian political campaign then sets off (again!) the tinfoil hats about Iran-Al Qaeda links. This, further, sets off further references to supposed Iranian ties to 9/11 from MEMRI. The most damning claim from MEMRI, for example, is sourced to "Senior Iranian Official Hamid Reza Zakeri", who claims to Al-Sharq Al-Awsat and VOA-Persia that "The issue [cooperation] was presented but [AQ's] request was denied." [our emphasis]

    MEMRI additionally cites this document that is claimed to come from Ali Akbar Nateq-Noori in May 2001, who is described as the "Head of Supreme Leader Intelligence Office". The date of the memo would make the head of Iranian intelligence Ali Younessi, but then I'm not sure what a "supreme leader intelligence office" is supposed to be. Either way, MEMRI is claiming that the "speaker of Iran's Parliament" between 92-00 had then been quickly appointed to the head of some "supreme leader's intelligence office", and that furthermore this unclear document hosted on some loony website dedicated to the overthrow of the Iranian regime proves that Iran and AQ were in cahoots on 9/11, and to back up the claim they quote a guy who explicitly rejects the claim. Case closed!

    With all due respect to the folks at CounterTerrorism blog (multiexpert! extra delicious!) and their research editor, but when the sources start crapping out within a few minutes of googling you need to revisit the "buhbuh everybody was wrong about iraq" phenomenon, and try a little harder to get it right this time. At the very least cite the actual source and not this hack plagiarism by politically motivated western intelligence sources.

:: posted by buermann @ 2006-11-14 13:47:37 CST | link

    go ahead, express that vague notion

    your turing test:

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