Thursday, March 08, 2007

Missing Iranian Rumors

A few days ago I posted something on a missing Iranian General who was deeply involed in the Iranian intellegance community and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

A bit of speculation (disguised as news) has come my way.

Haaretz says Missing Iranian former defense official has 'fled to U.S.'. Which would imply voluntary travel.

The Iranian former deputy defense minister who disappeared in neighboring Turkey last month is said to have sought asylum in the United States. Tehran said was Ali Reza Asghari went missing while on a private trip to Turkey.

The pan-Arab newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat on Tuesday quoted high-profile sources as saying that Asghari left for the U.S. shortly after arriving in the Turkish capital.

Earlier Tuesday, Iran's top police chief accused Western intelligence services of possibly abducting Asghari, who is also a retired general in the elite Revolutionary Guards.
Certainly the man has relatives in Iran. He must know that they would be at risk. If the US has him how can they protect his family? A lot of questions here.
Asghari had arrived in Turkey on a private visit from Damascus, Syria, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported Tuesday.

Iran's top police chief, General Esmaeil Ahmadi Moghaddam, said Iran was investigating Asghari's fate with the cooperation of the Turkish police.

"It is likely that Asghari has been abducted by the Western intelligence services," IRNA quoted the Iranian police general as saying. The general did not elaborate.
If that is the line Iran is taking then his family (except for questioning) is safe for the time being. They will be surrounded by minders, however.
According to a British Daily Telegraph report, Iranian intelligence official Asghari is also likely to have intimate knowledge of Iran's defense establishment and nuclear development program.

Although Asghari's disappearance in Turkey sparked allegations of a Mossad and CIA-linked kidnapping, Haaretz has learned that he may have defected.

Asghari served in the senior defense post under former defense minister General Ali Samahani. Israeli media have said that for many years, Asghari was the most senior Iranian intelligence official in Lebanon, with responsibility for Iran's ties with Hezbollah.
High level defections (if it is a defection and not a snatch or counter-intel operation) would indicate a regime on its last legs. An intel officer would be aware of the real situation and make his calculations accordingly.

This case of Soviet defection deception might help shed some light on the current case. Or it might just muddy the waters. Intelligence operations are like that. Our own counter intel guy James Jesus Angleton gives us a look at the wilderness of mirrors, where nothing is as it seems and paranoia can strike deep. Occupational hazard.

Update: 08 Mar'07 0521z

The Washington Post feeds a few more rumors into the wilderness of mirrors.
A former Iranian deputy defense minister who once commanded the Revolutionary Guard has left his country and is cooperating with Western intelligence agencies, providing information on Hezbollah and Iran's ties to the organization, according to a senior U.S. official.

Ali Rez Asgari disappeared last month during a visit to Turkey. Iranian officials suggested yesterday that he may have been kidnapped by Israel or the United States. The U.S. official said Asgari is willingly cooperating. He did not divulge Asgari's whereabouts or specify who is questioning him, but made clear that the information Asgari is offering is fully available to U.S. intelligence.
That would tend to support the fact that the Israelis have him and are wringing him dry. By any means necessary. Including being nice. Since the Israeli public is convinced of Iranian ill intent, there would be few repercussions from "excessive pressure" on the General.

Note that ties between Israeli and American intelligence go back to Angleton.

It is wise to also note that the Washington Post rumors are unsourced.
Iran's official news agency, IRNA, quoted the country's top police chief, Brig. Gen. Esmaeil Ahmadi-Moqaddam, as saying that Asgari was probably kidnapped by agents working for Western intelligence agencies. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that Asgari was in the United States. Another U.S. official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, denied that report and suggested that Asgari's disappearance was voluntary and orchestrated by the Israelis. A spokesman for President Bush's National Security Council did not return a call for comment.

The Israeli government denied any connection to Asgari. "To my knowledge, Israel is not involved in any way in this disappearance," said Mark Regev, the spokesman for Israel's foreign ministry.
So he disappeared without Israeli help. OK. Maybe the Americans got him and then gave him to the Israelis.

The waters are definitely getting muddy. It becomes hard to tell what is true, what is false, and what is so out there that you can't even believe the opposite.
An Iranian official, who agreed to discuss Asgari on the condition of anonymity, said that Iranian intelligence is unsure of Asgari's whereabouts but that he may have been offered money, probably by Israel, to leave the country. The Iranian official said Asgari was thought to be in Europe. "He has been out of the loop for four or five years now," the official said.
His last known travel arrangements were from Damascus, Syria to Istanbul, Turkey. So maybe he was not so out of the loop and the Iranian official is trying to do damage control by discrediting the General's information.
Former Mossad director Danny Yatom, who is now a member of Israel's parliament, said he believes Asgari defected to the West. "He is very high-caliber," Yatom said. "He held a very, very senior position for many long years in Lebanon. He was in effect commander of the Revolutionary Guards" there.

Ram Igra, a former Mossad officer, said Asgari spent much of the 1980s and 1990s overseeing Iran's efforts to support, finance, arm and train Hezbollah. The State Department lists the Shiite Lebanese group as a terrorist organization.

"He lived in Lebanon and, in effect, was the man who built, promoted and founded Hezbollah in those years," Igra told Israeli state radio. "If he has something to give the West, it is in this context of terrorism and Hezbollah's network in Lebanon."
This is very likely. It is also possible that the General was priviy to the usual scuttlebutt inside his organization. If he was a counter intelligence officer he would be very valuable indeed. Willing or otherwise.

The Australian has a report about the General's involvement in the Iranian nuclear program.
If General Asghari has gone over to the West, or been abducted, he would be a major source of information on Iran's nuclear program and a host of other security matters. Before serving as deputy defence minister he had been a general with the elite Revolutionary Guard.

Apart from strategic matters, General Asghari is reportedly privy to information about two affairs, one of great interest to Israel and the other to the US.

Debkafile, an Israeli website dealing with intelligence matters, reported this week that the CIA was interested in General Asghari because he was allegedly involved in the abduction two months ago of five US soldiers from a compound in Karbala, Iraq. The five were subsequently executed.
If this is true, we are already at war with Iran, which I noted in An Act Of War, where I detailed the abduction of Iranian "diplomats" by American troops. The abduction of the American soldiers was supposedly in retaliation for the American abduction of the Iranian "diplomats".

Some one is working to bring things to a boil. Possibly both sides. Or all sides. Depending on how you figure it.

A Newsmax report quotes some Iranian exiles.
A former high-ranking Iranian government official, Brig. Gen. Alireza Asghari, 63, has defected to the United States, Iranian exiles and other sources told Newsmax today.

Asghari had access to highly-classified intelligence information and "defected to the Americans with lots of secrets," respected Iranian journalist Alireza Nourizadeh told Newsmax from London.

The disappearance of the former Revolutionary Guards General has created a panic in Tehran.

Gen. Asghari left Iran on an officially-sanctioned trip to Damascus, Syria, then went missing during a stop-over in Istanbul, Turkey on February 7, according to statements by Iranian government officials in Tehran.

Nourizadeh believes he had been sent to Damascus to supervise an arms deal between Iran and Syria that was signed last June during a trip to Tehran by Syria's defense minister.

"It is possible that former deputy defense minister Asghari was kidnapped by Western intelligence services because of his Defense Ministry background," the head of Iran's national police, Gen. Ismail Ahmadi-Moghaddam, said in Tehran yesterday.

But Newsmax has learned from Iranian sources that Gen. Asghari's family also managed to leave Iran just before he went missing, and that he sold his house in the Narmak area of Tehran in December.
That would tend to indicate defection. However, the selling of the house is an argument against defection. The last thing you want to do in a paranoid regime is to make them think you aren't coming back.

Maybe the Iranians have oversold the dummy. Even false information is useful. Provided you know it is false.
Gen. Asghari's 10-day trip to Syria was approved by the military judicial authorities, sources inside Iran told Newsmax. Two days after he arrived in Damascus, his family managed to leave Iran, the sources said.

The main impediment to defections by high-ranking Iranian officials is fear that any family members left behind will be arrested, tortured, and possibly killed.
Very odd. Of course as with any such story rumors often outrun reality.
Alireza Nourizadeh, the Iranian journalist based in London, tells Newsmax that Gen. Asghari planned his defection carefully.

"While he was in Damascus, he sent a fax or an email to Tehran saying that one of his contacts, who was an arms dealer, was in Turkey and wanted to meet him," he told Newsmax. "So they gave him permission to go to Turkey, where he defected."

The Iranian military attaché in Istanbul had reserved a room for Gen. Asghari at the Continental hotel, Nourizadeh said, but Asghari complained that it was not safe. Instead, he booked three rooms at the Gilan Hotel, in the Tacsim district which is popular among Iranians. "After calling a relative in Tehran, he left the hotel at 6:30 PM and disappeared," he said.
The arms dealer has to be a suspect in the plot. If he was a Western asset his cover is now blown.

There are a lot of threads to untangle. Even if this is a false defection the Iranians are going to have to blow the covers on some of their agents to give the General credibility. If it was a real defection the Western agencies may have been willing to blow the covers of some of their operatives to get the General.

All we can take from this so far is that nothing is what it seems.

1 comment:

Karridine said...


If LIFE is the energy/spirit which maintains inanimate matter in a state of active organization, then DISEASE is the blockage or real denial of that LIFE ENERGY in portions or regions of the entity; and DEATH is the total ABSENCE of LIFE...

And now we have a human who, from the fetid 'privilege' of a trusted security job within the Iranian government, has sought the 'enemy' for himself and his loved ones...

Striving to move from DENIAL and OBSTRUCTION of the love and knowledge brought by the Glory of God, to the presence of LIFE in some sort of abundance, having known the slow-death of Muslim/Iranian lies, dissembling, coercion, corruption and enslavement for most of his life...

Maybe he should approach the Universal House of Justice?