US-backed Mujahideen e-Khalq covert war in Iran seems to continue as "A Cambone Operation"

Iran shady business: This is an encouraging chart:

iran chartIt comes via Steve Soto at TheLeftCoaster, who writes on The Economy and Iran that retired Colonel Sam Gardiner has offered an outline of the opening moves of an Iran war. Gardiner thinks its a terrible idea, and recently said on CNN that a covert war is already underway. His latest:

I. Period of Building Pressure: This could be 60 days or even six months in which the US and European leaders continue to talk to their publics on the failure of the Iranians to comply with "the wishes of the international community." There will be talk and work on sanctions but those, will be for the purpose of building US and international support; they will not be done with any hope of changing Iranian behavior. We should see the US surface a smoking gun during this phase. (Note: this has already happened with the recent “revelation” about Iran’s uranium possession in excess of what was anticipated) Some military deployments might take place. Most visible would be three aircraft carriers in the vicinity.

II. Initial Strike: This would last 36 to 48 hours. It would only be moderately visible to the global publics. Most of the attacks would take place at night. To prevent retaliation, most targets would be other than nuclear facilities.

III. Pause: The strikes would stop. Iran would be warned that if it were to retaliate the strikes would resume. The pause would probably not be long, maybe 72 hours. Either Iran would conduct an operation against US or Israeli targets, or there would be an event that is blamed on Iran. (Note: Gardiner says that it is very likely, especially in the wake of last week’s announcement from Iran that any strike by Bush against Iran would be considered as an attack from Israel also, that Iran will hit Israel in response to any attack from America)

IV. Regime Change Targeting: The attacks from this point would shift to targets that could cause the regime to fall. It would include direct attacks on the leadership of Iran.

Gardiner adds that the pressure is being increased:

In the phase of building pressure, I see two indicators. I called one of them the "smoking gun." By that I mean the Administration will reveal that Iran is farther along in its nuclear program than we originally thought. This will most likely be some evidence that AQ Kahn, the Pakistani, sold more to Iran than we knew.

Late Friday we read a leak from a diplomat with the International Atomic Energy Agency that new enriched uranium evidence has been found. This could be the emergence of the smoking gun.

The second indicator in the pressure-building phase was the position of aircraft carriers. The Reagan is in the Gulf Region. The Enterprise left Norfolk for the ME (Middle East) on May 2. The Lincoln did a port call in Singapore on April 30, apparently moving in the direction of the ME.

In October 2004, I had the bizarre experience of having lunch with that leading neoconservative Michael Ledeen, who is continually obsessed with Iran, and I wrote the following in "Lunch Beyond Good and Evil: Around a Table with Michael Ledeen":

His scheme to free Iran was to supply the opposition with the tools to destabilize the regime, “but not a single bullet.” I have a hard time believing he could resist arming the Iranian opposition. In fact, many say that the Pentagon, administered by Ledeen’s allies, has courted a weird, cultish anti-regime Iranian guerilla group based in eastern Iraq called the Mujahideen al-Khalq. If Bush wins, it’s quite unlikely that the neo-cons will be able to resist using forces like these to harass Tehran, but we have no idea what sort of reaction this would provoke from the highly mobilized, nationalist Iranians.

This appears to be exactly what is going on now, by some reports, as I noted earlier. On my birthday, Raw Story's Larisa Alexandrovna published a pretty disturbing report about how the situation is getting geared up:

US military, intelligence officials raise concern about possible preparations for Iran strike

Concern is building among the military and the intelligence community that the US may be preparing for a military strike on Iran, as military assets in key positions are approaching readiness, RAW STORY has learned.... Retired Air Force Colonel and former faculty member at the National War College Sam Gardiner has heard some military suggestions of a possible air campaign in the near future, and although he has no intimate knowledge of such plans, he says recent aircraft carrier activity and current operations on the ground in Iran have raised red flags.....

Advance teams under way; Congress ‘bypassed’

As previously reported by Raw Story, a terrorist organization known as Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK) is being used on the ground in Iran by the Pentegon, bypassing US intelligence channels. The report was subsequently covered by the Asia Times (Article). Military and intelligence sources now say no Presidential finding exists on MEK ops. Without a presidential finding, the operation circumvents the oversight of the House and Senate Intelligence committees.

Congressional aides for the relevant oversight committees would not confirm or deny allegations that no Presidential finding had been done. One Democratic aide, however, wishing to remain anonymous for this article, did say that any use of the MEK would be illegal. In addition, sources say that a March attack that killed 22 Iranian officials in the province of Sistan va Baluchistan was carried out by the MEK.

According to a report by Iran Focus filed Mar. 23, the twenty-two people killed in the ambush included high ranking officials, including the governor of Zahedan. "Hours after the attack took place, Ahmadi-Moqaddam announced there was evidence the assailants had held meetings with British intelligence officers," the Iranian news service reported. "Radical Shiite cleric Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi also claimed the people behind the attack were the same as those behind a spate of bombings in Iran’s south-western province of Khuzestan earlier this year and in 2005," it added.

Military and intelligence sources say that MEK assets were responsible for this attack, but did not know if the US military was involved or if US military assets were part of the ambush. One former high ranking US intelligence official described the use of MEK as more of a "Cambone" operation than a "Department of Defense operation." Undersecretary of Defense Intelligence Stephen Cambone, a stalwart neo-conservative, is considered by many to be Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s right-hand man.

During a White House briefing in early May, outgoing press secretary Scott McClellan denied that the administration was using MEK, among several other terrorist organizations named, for ground activity in Iran....

Here is a lot of background on the shady, shady Mr Cambone. More on this at WotIsItGood4. You need to read Iran Freedom and Regime Change Politics by Tom Barry at the International Relations Center's Right Web site for more on how AIPAC and other nasty foreign policy lobbies are ginning up the Iran war:

While AIPAC is the most powerful group advocating a tougher U.S. policy toward Iran, numerous other pressure groups calling for regime change in Iran have emerged over the past several years. One of the earliest, the Coalition for Democracy in Iran (CDI), formed in late 2002, ceased functioning in mid-2005. Operating out of the office of Morris Amitay, the former director of AIPAC, CDI worked closely with AIPAC to encourage Congress to pass resolutions condemning Iran. The CDI principals continue their efforts to promote regime change in Iran through other organizations, including the Foundation for Democracy in Iran, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, Committee on the Present Danger, and the American Enterprise Institute.

Raymond Tanter, one of the original members of the Coalition for Democracy in Iran, founded the Iran Policy Committee (IPC) in January 2005. Tanter, who was a senior staff member of the National Security Council during the Reagan administration, is also associated with several other right-wing policy organizations, including the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Middle East Institute, and the Committee on the Present Danger. Since its founding the Iran Policy Committee has sponsored conferences and policy briefings on the Hill, and has also published four policy papers—a common theme being that the U.S. government should declassify the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) as an international terrorist organization and recognize it as being the “indisputably largest and most organized Iranian opposition group.”

Tangent: Using soccer to kick Iran.

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