Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps preparing for war as Western covert action increases
By End the Lie
It is becoming increasingly clear that there is a covert war unfolding in Iran, as I have previously covered, which is only growing in severity.
Recently Iran claimed that they had shot down an American drone in sovereign Iranian territory, for which Iran would respond harshly, an anonymous military official told the official IRNA news agency.
However, the British Guardian is reporting that a spokesman NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan claimed that they lost control of an unarmed surveillance drone in western Afghanistan.
“The UAV to which the Iranians are referring may be a US unarmed reconnaissance aircraft that had been flying a mission over western Afghanistan late last week. The operators of the UAV lost control of the aircraft and had been working to determine its status,” the official ISAF statement said.
Yet an unnamed American official told NBC News, “There is absolutely no indication up to this point that Iranians shot down this drone.”
This statement directly conflicts with the ISAF’s official release and the statements coming from the official Iranian news agency, which makes it appear as if this anonymous official is simply attempting to conduct some damage control.
This also directly conflicts with the statement of a spokesman for the Pentagon who said, the RQ-170 Sentinel stealth drone is “in a place where we’re not able to get it.”
The spokesman, U.S. Navy Captain John Kirby, said that the United States was “concerned” about the Iranian military’s chance to acquire critical information about the technology used in the RQ-170.
U.S. officials have reportedly confirmed that the drone was in fact on a CIA mission at the time and that the ISAF statement was intentionally ambiguous in regards to the ownership of the drone and its mission.
One defense analyst, Loren Thompson, claims that it is unlikely that any technology could be recovered by the Iranians.
“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,” Thompson told the Associated Press.
According to yet another anonymous senior U.S. official, the stealth drone was on a CIA mission at the time, putting the claim that it was just in Afghanistan further in doubt.
The details surrounding the RQ-170 Sentinel are murky, to say the least, with the Pentagon refusing to disclose the cost of the unit, the size, or even the top speed.
The only thing we know for sure at this point is that the Pentagon is worrying that Iran actually does have the drone in their hands and some are saying that the technology could be passed on to Iranian allies like China and Russia.
Peter Singer, author of Wired for War, a book covering robotic warfare, told the Los Angeles Times that having drones go down in enemy territory is not a wholly new phenomenon.
“It carries a variety of systems that wouldn’t be much of a benefit to Iran, but to its allies such as China and Russia, it’s a potential gold mine,” Singer said.
Loren Thompson also questioned this assertion to the Los Angeles Times, saying, “I don’t think this is a dagger pointed at the heart of democracy. A lot of information about this aircraft was already known by foreign military intelligence officials.”
Although given the fact that spokespeople for the CIA, White House, Pentagon and the Congressional Intelligence Oversight Committee all declined to comment to the Los Angeles Times, it is clear that they are taking this incident seriously.
Another unnamed U.S. official who supposedly has access to intelligence said that the loss of the drone is a major security breach.
The anonymous official would not discuss how exactly the drone fell into the hands of Iranian forces, while still confirming that the downed drone was largely intact.
This official put it in somewhat dire terms, saying, “It’s bad – they’ll have everything,” adding that “the Chinese or Russians will have it too.”
Yet others do not think that the situation is quite as serious as some are making it out to be with Kevin Gambold, the director of operations for Unmanned Experts, a British company specializing in unamend aerial vehicles (UAVs) telling the Los Angeles Times that the Sentinel would have a self-destruct mechanism which would disable or destroy it if operators lost control.
This is due to the numerous classified surveillance systems and cutting edge technology used on the Sentinel.
He said that the Iranian claim of bringing down the drone via electronic jamming or taking over the control system with a cyber-attack is quite unlikely.
“You never say never, but I would be gob-smacked and amazed if they even knew how,” Gambold said.
Thompson said that the Sentinel likely failed to self-destruct or return to its point of origin because of an onboard mechanical function of some kind.
This would mean that all the Iranians obtained was “a pile of wreckage – many small and damaged pieces from which they could glean little in the way of technological insights,” Thompson added.
While yet another anonymous recently retired American official who the Atlantic claims is “privy to up-to-date intelligence” would not deny that the United States, in concert with Israel, was currently engaged in a covert war against the Iranian nuclear program.
This covert war may include the Stuxnet virus, which has been directly linked to Israel and the United States, along with the new Duqu virus (directly based on the Stuxnet source code), the sabotage and blowing-up of facilities and even the assassination and/or kidnapping of Iranian nuclear scientists.
It seems that Iran may be getting fed up with this covert action, with an Iranian military source quoted on Iranian Arabic-language Al Amam state television network saying, “The Iranian military’s response to the American spy drone’s violation of our airspace will not be limited to Iran’s borders.”
However, they did not comment further so the details of their response are yet to be revealed, although they reportedly do have a drone capable of traveling to Israel.
An order from the commander of the Revolutionary Guard Corps, General Mohammed Ali Jaafari raised the operational readiness of the guards, with the Telegraph reporting that they are initiating preparations for potential external strikes and covert operations.
Anonymous Western intelligence officials have said that Iran had initiated plans to disperse long-range missiles, high explosives, artillery and guards units to critical defensive positions throughout the nation.
The Telegraph is reporting that the Iranian leadership fears that they are now the victims of a coordinated attack at the hands of Western security and intelligence agencies aimed at disabling key components of the Iranian nuclear infrastructure.
While the IAEA report claims that Iranian scientists worked to create a missile able to carry the payload of a nuclear warhead, they repeatedly contend that their program is purely for peaceful civilian use, and the fact is, no credible evidence to the contrary has been produced for public scrutiny as of yet.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, issued a directive to all of the heads of the nation’s military, security, and intelligence agencies ordering them to take all measures required to protect their nation.
This comes after repeated unexplained explosions have rocked Iran, including yet another mysterious explosion last week which the Telegraph says “caused significant damage to Iran’s uranium conversion facility.”
In response to Ayatollah Khamenei’s orders, General Jafaari ordered units of the Revolutionary Guards Corps to move their Shahab missiles to undisclosed locations throughout Iran where they could be protected from sabotage and also be used to launch counter-strikes.
The Iranian air force has also been conducting exercises to hone their response to an enemy attack from the air and formed “rapid reaction units” precisely for this purpose.
With the Iranians showing no sign of caving under Western pressure and ending their nuclear program, the threat of an Israeli unilateral strike seems increasingly real.
This was exemplified by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying that he would take “the right decision at the right moment” if Iran did not halt their uranium enrichment program.
This is the typical hardline Israeli politicking that we have seen under Netanyahu, which some in Washington – far from a typical critic of Israeli policy given that they stay silent while the Apartheid state slaughters and abuses countless innocent Palestinians and conducts questionable covert operations throughout the Middle East – are actually questioning.
One such individual is the U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta who said that an Israeli unilateral strike would risk “an escalation” that very well might “consume the Middle East in confrontation and conflict that we would regret.”
Of course to any thinking person this statement from Panetta is quite laughable given that he has no problem consuming much of the Middle East in confrontation and conflict under wholly false pretenses.
I find it much more likely that Washington is not worried about a unilateral strike but more worried about them not being in the loop on when such a strike would occur.
After all, Israel refused to reassure Obama that they would give him advance warning of a strike on Iran earlier this month after he demanded private guarantees that an attack would not move forward without White House notification.
This is yet another example of how Israel enjoys special status in the United States. Where any other nation would be retaliated against and likely have aid cut for such an affront to bilateral relations, since Israel has been raised to some kind of untouchable position in America, no such thing would ever happen.
I contend that assuming that the Iranians would actually strike out against American or Israeli targets at this point is a bit absurd, given the fact that Iran is well aware of the hellish repercussions that they would experience at the hands of the United States and Israel.
Yet, it is becoming more evident by the day that the United States and Israel are already engaging in a covert assault on Iranian soil, outside of any drone activities in the Islamic Republic.
One must wonder if the stealth drone – which functions mostly as a surveillance platform, as it did in the hoax killing of Osama bin Laden – is providing aerial surveillance for covert operatives on the ground conducting sabotage missions.
The anonymous official quoted by the Atlantic said, “It’s safe to say the Israelis are very active,” and touching on American efforts added, “everything that [GOP presidential candidate] Mitt Romney said we should be doing — tough sanctions, covert action and pressuring the international community – are all of the things we are actually doing.”
The international pressure is apparently already paying off with Australia expanding their sanctions against Iran which now target people and companies involved with the Iranian nuclear program.
The new expanded sanctions will also, according to Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd, restrict Australian business with Iranian petroleum and financial sectors, Haaretz reports.
The Los Angeles Times recently quoted several individuals who support the contention that the United States and Israel are already actively conducting covert operations in Iran.
Patrick Clawson, director of the Iran Security Initiative at the so-called think tank Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told the Los Angeles Times, “It looks like the 21st century form of war. It does appear that there is a campaign of assassinations and cyber war, as well as the semi-acknowledged campaign of sabotage.”
They also quote a former CIA case officer who worked on Iran named Art Keller as saying, “We definitely are doing. It’s pretty much the stated mission of the [CIA's] counter-proliferation division to do what it takes to slow … Iran’s weapons of mass destruction program.”
There is plenty of fodder for people like myself who see a very likely covert operation being conducted on Iranian soil.
Iranian news agencies reported in October that there were three unexplained explosions in a 24-hour period, something which should raise red flags and ring alarm bells for anyone who doesn’t believe that everything is coincidence unless we are explicitly told it isn’t by an “official” or “authority” of some kind.
The blasts resulted in two deaths and another large explosion was reported in Iran’s third-largest city of Esfahan last week, which when considered together hardly seem like they could be conveniently timed accidents.
Furthermore, Iran recently claimed they discovered a group of CIA informants (who were, unsurprisingly, working in cooperation with the Israeli Mossad) operating in their country and U.S. officials have acknowledged that some informants in Iran have been exposed.
A senior Obama administration official would not deny to the Atlantic that a covert operations program was currently being conducted in Iran.
The, yet again, anonymous official said that the U.S. was not involved in every action adding, “I wouldn’t assume that everything we do is coordinated.”
Trita Parsi, the president of the National Iranian American Council in Washington told the Atlantic that if the Iranian retaliations to American and Israeli attacks become increasingly serious, they could very well create “the pretext for a much larger war” in which Israel and possibly the United States would launch an all-out assault on Iran.
Indeed this seems increasingly likely and I would contend that it could very well be the intention of the United States and Israel to continue these covert attacks until Iran gets totally fed up and decides to retaliate with harsh measures.
This would give those who have been gunning for Iran for decades the backing of the international community to carry out what they have been dreaming of for far too long, without the negative publicity that would come with an unprovoked attack on a nation that has not made any overtly aggressive moves, other than plenty of sabre rattling of course.
The nature of this covert war also prevents allies from stepping in as the United States, Israel and other Western nations have plenty of plausible deniability at this point.
They could use this to make Iran, Russia and China look like the warmongers, even though it is the West which has been conducting sabotage and assassination operations in Iran for some time now.
All we can do at this point is follow the information closely, with a skeptical eye of course, and hope that this will not spark World War 3 and send the entirety of humanity into even more suffering and turmoil.