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Commentary Last Updated: Feb 20th, 2009 - 21:14:03

Israel is reportedly assassinating Iranian nuclear scientists
By Jerry Mazza
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Feb 20, 2009, 00:30

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In a Haaretz article, Is Israel assassinating Iran nuclear scientists?, Yossi Melman reports, �Israel is assassinating Iranian nuclear scientists as part of a covert war against the Islamic Republic�s illicit weapons program, the Daily Telegraph on Tuesday quoted Western intelligence analysts as saying.�

He continues, �The British daily said Israel�s Mossad espionage agency was rumored to be behind the death of Ardeshire Hassanpour, a top nuclear scientist at Iran�s Isfahan uranium plant, who died in mysterious circumstances from reported �gas poisoning� in 2007.

�Other recent deaths of important figures in the procurement and enrichment process in Iran and Europe have been the result of Israeli �hits,� intended to deprive Tehran of key technical skills at the head of the program, according to the analysts.�

And isn�t President Obama at the same extending a diplomatic hand to the Iranians? And isn�t Israel, as of this date, one of our closest allies [and I use the term loosely given that they spy on us more than any nation, ally or enemy]; and isn�t Israel the recipient of US billions in military aid, unsecured loans, and military hardware, spying software, plus contributions of hundreds of millions of dollars from Jewish American organizations?

More importantly, isn�t Israel in possession of some 200 to 300 nuclear warheads, products of the leaky Dimona nuclear reactor and facility, which was built way back in the late 1950s with the help of the French? Isn�t this the same plant that Mordechai Vanunu, a former orthodox Jew who was a technician there, exposed in 1986 in the London Times? And didn�t that earn him an 18-year sentence in solitary confinement in an Israeli prison and subsequent house arrest when he talked to a reporter on his release?

But, I�m missing the strategy here I guess, for which the Telegraph quotes US intelligence sources who say �Israel is using sabotage, front companies and double agents to disrupt the regime�s illicit weapons project [italics mine] as an alternative to direct military strikes.� Oh well, if it�s only that, what? It�s still threatening to world peace.

But there�s more. Melman reports that �Israel has been carrying out similar covert activities for about a decade, ever since Iran was first suspected of seeking nuclear weapons [italics mine]. Is that a finessed sentence or am I missing something? Say it. They�ve been killing scientists for 10 years on the assumption or paranoia that Iran has nuclear weapons.

Yet, here is a nation with 60-plus years of nuclear proliferation, starting a few years before the infamous partitioning of Palestine, exploring for uranium no less in the Negev desert and finding it. And now they are offing Iranian nuclear scientists and disrupting Iran�s nuclear projects. Is this business as usual for Israel or the height of hypocrisy or both?

Melman reports, �The US journalist James Risen has written recently that the CIA and the Mossad have planned together a number of sabotage operations against the Iranian program, including damaging power lines to nuclear sites in order to cause harm to computer systems and equipment.� Terrific. And what if they succeed as Menachem Begin succeeded in bombing Iraq�s almost finished nuclear facility in 1981 with American F-15s and F-16s?

Then, as now, but for the grace of someone (I won�t even talk about god because I�m still grappling with the concept), what if there werefissionable material and you succeeded in releasing it in an explosion or other means, think of the deadly impact on Iran and the region, including Israel. Or is no one thinking, just doing their nasty thing?

This reminds me that Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Israel has not signed the NPT. They�re tough guys, with our guns, billions, and backing to be our bi -stick in the oil-rich Middle East.

Nevertheless, as Melman, writes at least �Israeli officials are privately acknowledging the new US administration is likely to sanction an air attack on Iran�s nuclear installations and that President Barack Obama�s offer to extend a hand of peace to Tehran puts any directly military action beyond reach for now.� For now. But all that other stuff is okay? Yup.

� . . . The reported goal of Israel�s covert campaign is to delay or interrupt the Iranian research program, without engaging in a direct confrontation that could lead to a wider war.� Just keep sending in the picadors to bleed the nuclear scientists to death. But call it �disruption,� as in �Disruption is designed to slow progress, done in such a way that they don�t realize what�s happening. You are never going to stop it,� a CIA officer on Iran was quoted as saying. Then why do it, Designer Disruption?

Ah, but the goal is delay, delay, delay, that is, until you can come up with an alternate solution or �a final solution.� How about Obama�s notion (if his money is where his mouth is), about extending the hand of peace and not via the CIA another and another slap in the face?

Ah, but we�re told that �Reva Bhalia, a senior analyst with Stratfor, the US private intelligence company with strong government security connections, was quoted by the paper as saying the strategy was take out key people.� Oh, that�s humane. We�ll kill only the key people. How does that play with the old Golden Rule, �Do unto thy neighbor as you would have him do unto you?� Or is that just peacenik na�vet�?

We let the real macho guys and gals decide these issues. And look at the mess.

Like Bhalia�s statement, �With co-operation from the United States, Israeli covert operations have focused both on eliminating key human assets [read human beings] involved in the nuclear programme and in sabotaging the Iranian nuclear supply chain.� Who is this droid and who�s picking up the tab for her making statements like this when the president of the United States is reaching out a hand of friendship? Or are we permanently in the land of double-talk double-think, i.e., political schizophrenia?

She goes on to say, �As US-Israeli relations are bound to come under strain over the Obama administration�s outreach to Iran, and as the political atmosphere grows in complexity, an intensification of Israeli covert activity against Iran is likely to result.� Jesus H!

Why doesn�t Obama lift the phone and get one of the Israeli gunslingers-in-chief on the line and tell them to cool it, at least while he�s extending his hand of peace? Or else, he might ask his chief of staff, Rahm Immanuel. Rahm and his family have had a long and bloody history with Israeli Zionism. His dad�s goes back to the Irgun terror gang days and blowing up the King David Hotel.

Rahm served with the Israeli army [not the US Army] in Gulf I. Rumor has it that Rahm knows how to talk tough, tough and dirty [which is one reason Mrs. Clinton had Bill can him]. But hey, listen, whatever works for peace works for me. And I am na�ve enough to believe this is a real peace effort on our part, not just another on-going Israeli/US blood bath, as in Palestine, that we are working on.

And by the way, has the CIA evaluated the �blowback� on this yet, like they missed �the blowback� on underwriting, staffing, training and weaponizing Osama bin Laden and his Mujahedeen to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan in 1979 for a decade? And isn�t it curious, we�ve landed there again with 17,000 more troops coming, and seem to be doing our best to get involved in another big-time war while we try to compromise our way out of another? Never mind the cost in blood and money, we are the Empire; we will rock your boat, or someone or group will overturn ours.

After all, at least three other empires couldn�t take down Afghanistan, Alexander the Great, the British Empire, and the Soviet Union. So what makes us special? Our exhausted, undermanned military?

And lastly, what�s all that Obama talk about helping working families out of the worst recession/depression since the 1929 crash. What have we learned? And when will we learn to talk straight, act straight, and not from both sides of our collective mouths? You�ll excuse me. I have a question reflux problem. It�s like acid reflux, keeps irritating the hell out of me as the lunch of violence keeps repeating on me, including the trillion dollar plus and growing national deficit.

Jerry Mazza is a freelance writer living in New York City. Reach him at read his new book, State Of Shock: Poems from 9/11 onat, Amazon or

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