Sunday, October 01, 2006

Senior intel official: Pentagon moves to second-stage planning for Iran strike option

The Pentagon's top brass has moved into second-stage contingency planning for a potential military strike on Iran, one senior intelligence official familiar with the plans tells RAW STORY.

The official, who is close to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest ranking officials of each branch of the US military, says the Chiefs have started what is called "branches and sequels" contingency planning.

"The JCS has accepted the inevitable," the intelligence official said, "and is engaged in serious contingency planning to deal with the worst case scenarios that the intelligence community has been painting."

A second military official, although unfamiliar with these latest scenarios, said there is a difference between contingency planning -- which he described as "what if, then what" planning -- and "branches and sequels," which takes place after an initial plan has been decided upon.

Adding to the concern of both military and intelligence officials alike is the nuclear option, the possibility of pre-emptive use of nuclear weapons targeting alleged WMD facilities in Iran.

Retired Colonel: ‘We Are Conducting Military Operations Inside Iran Right Now. The Evidence Is Overwhelming.’ [The link has video for you to watch] For the full transcript, click here

Air Force Col. Sam Gardiner (Ret.) said, “We are conducting military operations inside Iran right now. The evidence is overwhelming.”

Gardiner, who taught at the U.S. Army’s National War College, has previously suggested that U.S. forces were already on the ground in Iran. Today he added several additional new points:

1) The House Committee on Emerging Threats recently called on State and Defense Department officials to testify on whether U.S. forces were in Iran. The officials didn’t come to the hearing.

2) “We have learned from Time magazine today that some U.S. naval forces had been alerted for deployment. That is a major step.”

3) “The plan has gone to the White House. That’s not normal planning. When the plan goes to the White House, that means we’ve gone to a different state.”

War Signals?

As reports circulate of a sharp debate within the White House over possible US military action against Iran and its nuclear enrichment facilities, The Nation has learned that the Bush Administration and the Pentagon have moved up the deployment of a major "strike group" of ships, including the nuclear aircraft carrier Eisenhower as well as a cruiser, destroyer, frigate, submarine escort and supply ship, to head for the Persian Gulf, just off Iran's western coast. This information follows a report in the current issue of Time magazine, both online and in print, that a group of ships capable of mining harbors has received orders to be ready to sail for the Persian Gulf by October 1.

As Time writes in its cover story, "
What Would War Look Like?," evidence of the forward deployment of minesweepers and word that the chief of naval operations had asked for a reworking of old plans for mining Iranian harbors "suggest that a much discussed--but until now largely theoretical--prospect has become real: that the U.S. may be preparing for war with Iran."

Military Orders Suggest Iran Attack

Two recent orders by the American military have led some observers to conclude that the U.S. is preparing for an attack on Iran.

One order was a "Prepare to Deploy" command sent to a submarine, an Aegis-class cruiser, two minesweepers and two mine hunters, telling the ships’ commanders to be ready to move by Oct. 1.

The other was a request from the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) for a fresh look at long-standing U.S. plans to blockade two Iranian oil ports on the Persian Gulf.

The orders created a buzz within the military because there are few places in the world where minesweepers could be significant – chief among them, the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, where about 40 percent of the world’s oil passes each day.

Iran could cut West's oil supplies in event of war, warns American chief in Gulf

Iran could trigger a global terrorist campaign and choke the West's oil supplies in the event of war with America, the top US commander in the region has warned.

In a rare public discussion of how a war with Iran might unfold, Gen John Abizaid, the chief of the US Central Command, gave a sobering assessment of Iran's military potential.

He warned that in a war Iran would rely on unconventional means to challenge America's superiority.

"Number one, they have naval capacity to temporarily block the
Straits of Hormuz [the entrance into the Gulf] and interfere with global commerce if they should choose to do so," he said.

"Number two, they've got a substantial missile force that can do a lot of damage to our friends and partners in the region.

"Number three, they've got a pretty robust terrorist surrogate arm that could in the event of hostilities cause problems not only in the Middle East but globally.

And number four, they have a very substantial land army that, while it's not offensively worrying, is certainly capable of conducting asymmetric warfare."

The "Iraq Scenario" in Iran

Is Iran secretly building an atomic bomb? The International Atomic Energy Agency wants to shed light on the core issue behind Tehran's nuclear dispute with the West. While the United States doubts the IAEA's efficacy, the UN inspectors fear hawks are trying to make them irrelevant -- just like before the Iraq war.

The worst case scenario making the rounds at the IAEA these days is that the UN Security Council does what the United States is pushing for and slaps sanctions on Iran. That then causes Tehran to retaliate by carrying out its threat to bar ElBaradei's inspectors from the country. Or, Iran could follow the example of North Korea and even ditch the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) entirely.

Then the IAEA would essentially be blind. And each week without inspections would increase the uncertainty about what was truly going on in Iran's nuclear facilities. Theory, analysis and a flood of so-called experts would suddenly hold sway instead of actual facts.

Inside the IAEA this is known as the "Iraq Scenario." Saddam Hussein tossed inspectors out of the country in 1998, which ended up making it easier for the Bush administration's hawks to use exaggeration and outright lies to try to convince world opinion of the need to invade Iraq.

There are already the first attempts to shape the debate surrounding the dispute with Iran. In recent weeks, an IAEA letter has surfaced that harshly criticized a report by a US Congressional intelligence committee. The 29-page document supposedly grossly exaggerated the state of Iran's nuclear research and claimed ElBaradei had caved to Iranian pressure to remove a particularly critical IAEA expert from the list of inspectors. The report even went so far as to infer that Nobel Peace Prize winner ElBaradei was more interested in having good ties with Tehran than finding out the truth.

The IAEA called the report "upsetting and misleading" and Heinonen and his experts found at least five fundamental mistakes in it. The worst was the claim that Iran had enriched uranium to 90 percent -- that is, weapons grade. But the IAEA had only found uranium enriched to 3.5 percent in Natanz.

Such hyperbole can't be explained as simple sloppiness. One of the authors of the report is the former CIA official Frederick Fleitz, a hawk who's previously worked for John Bolton, US ambassador to the United Nations. "It's just like before the Iraq war," says David Albright, a respected US nuclear expert. "They blow up the threat with windy information and attack the IAEA."

Iran's KOLCHUGA antenna device passively detects stealth planes 800 Km away [The original article is no longer available online. "Page not found." Here is the originating URL:]

In the event the US and/or Israel stage an air attack on Iran they would be wise to remember that the Iranians have an unknown number of KOLCHUGA passive electronic warfare systems. Below you will find an explanation of what these systems can do.

Iran's KOCHULGA antenna device passively detects stealth planes 800 Km away, making the billions of Dollars spent on stealth technology and the AWACS planes (600km detection range) utterly useless. In addition, being passive, it cannot be detected, so the targeted plane(s) are unaware of detection and have nothing to home in to destroy the equipment.

It should be noted that the Kolchuga’s undeniable advantages are not accidental or temporary. The Ukrainian product [which is the one Iran has purchased] is head and shoulders above all American, Russian, French, Czech, or Brazilian developments in this field. But those who developed and made this unique product aren’t resting on their laurels. They continue to work.


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