‘Bombing Iran now is the Stupidest Idea I’ve ever Heard’

by Luis R. Miranda
The Real Agenda
March 12, 2012

It doesn’t get any clearer than that. “An attack on Iran without exploring all available options is not the right way how to do it.” These is the assessment of the former chief of Mossad, Meir Dagan, Israel’s top intelligence officer, an equivalent of the head of the CIA. Rumors about its opposition to an Israeli attack on Iran have circulated the media for a while now, but it is the first time Dagan goes on television to speak clearly about what he believes is a suicide mission for Israel, a mission that won’t stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon if they really wanted one.

Former Mossad Spy Chief Mier Dagan.

In his own words, Dagan makes it clear that there are at least 3 years left to use diplomacy and sanctions in order to prevent a nuclear Iran. The former spy chief who retired from Mossad — although many believe he was fired by current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — opposes Israel’s policy of pre-emptive strikes against Iran. In a fairly edited interview given to CBS, Dagan said that the Iranian regime is a very “rational” one that understands the consequences of creating or seeking a nuclear weapon. This level of rationality, says Dagan, is not the same than the people know in the western world, but he has no doubt that the Iranians are considering all the implications of their decisions.

When asked why couldn’t the world handle a nuclear Iran, the former intelligence chief resourced to a largely debunked idea; that Iran had the intention to wipe Israel off the map. His statement refers to a quote from Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who never said such a thing. What he said, as many alternative media reported, is that the Iranian leadership wished to wipe the Israeli Regime off the map, not the Jewish people. “I think the Iranians are masters of negotiation,” said Dagan. He added that he would be concerned if for example the Europeans decided to sit down with the Iranians while easing the sanctions as a condition to have such talks.

Meir Dagan ran Israel’s top intelligence agency for over 9 years. He and his colleagues were responsible for the murder of members of Hamas and others from the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). He and his teams ran programs to provide defective equipment to Iran in order to delay their plan to enrich materials to produce nuclear energy. They were also responsible for the murder of Iranian scientists who worked directly in the nuclear enrichment program.

Dagan said Iran has no interest in keeping oil prices low, because it is their main source of income and that a nuclear Iran would not guarantee stability in the Middle East. Perhaps a nuclear Iran would not make the prices of oil go down, but it would certainly help balance the power struggle between Israel and its western allies and countries like Iran, Pakistan, Russia and China. Iran’s allies seem to echo Dagan’s advice not to attack Iran. Russia has said that it will not allow an attack on Syria or Iran and so has China. Recently, prominent Chinese officials alerted their defense organizations to prepare for an open war against the United States, in the case the government led by Barack Obama decides to support an Israeli attack on Iran.

Both Pakistan and Russia spoke publicly about their opposition to attacking Iran or Syria. The Pakistani leaders have made it clear they will side with their neighbors if Israel or the US decide to attack them. Dagan went on to say that a nuclear Iran would have it easier to create the conditions to keep an unstable Middle East in order to keep the price of oil artificially high. The question is, haven’t the United States and Israel done exactly the same — keeping the Middle East unstable — by attacking Arab countries for no reason, basing those attacks on false intelligence which is often provided by Mossad or the CIA? One thing is certain, a nuclear Iran would not be a match neither for Israel, who has more than 300 nuclear weapons, nor for the United States for the same reason. Iran would have one nuclear weapon, or a few nuclear weapons that would not be able to match neither Israel’s nor the US’s arsenals. What a nuclear Iran would definitely do is bring more stability to the region as Israel and the United States — directly or through proxy governments — would perhaps think twice before attacking the country headed by Ahmadinejad.

The former intelligence chief said that one of the ways to bring about change in Iran is to do it through proxy organizations, such as opposition, student and minority groups. He, however, denied Mossad’s involvement in any action that directly or indirectly did exactly that. No need for explanations, though. There is plenty of evidence that Mossad has elements operating in Iran who are conducting secret destabilizing operations to influence Iran’s decisions. He did say that it was Mossad’s duty to help anyone who wanted to push for regime change in Iran. Dagan emphasized that an attack on Iran this year would be reckless, especially because a military intervention would not stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, which is what Israel supposedly fears the most. “It would only delay it,” says Dagan. He says preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon is a very complicated task, because unlike what many people believe, Iran doesn’t have a handful of nuclear sites, but dozens.

Although publicly Barack Obama agrees with Dagan’s opinion, in practice the US government acts very differently. The US has sent several war ships to the Gulf region, specifically to the Strait of Hormuz, an area that Iran has threatened to seal off if it is attacked either by Israel or the US military forces. “A nuclear Iran is not an Israeli problem, it’s a global problem,” said the former Mossad chief. He added that if Israel did not militarily attack Iran, he would prefer the US to do it rather than anyone else. Israel is known for unilaterally and pre-emptively attacking sites in neighboring countries such as Iran and Syria. But this time Mr. Dagan believes things may happen differently. He said that an attack on Iran in the near future will ignite a regional war like never seen before, with rockets flying over and landing on Israeli territory from north and south. Perhaps that is why Israel has recently been training to destroy incoming rockets with their new land-based defense system.The country seems to be preparing for the kind of scenario that Dagan described on his interview. “It would be a devastating impact on our ability to continue with our daily life,” said Dagan about attacks from Hamas and Hezbollah, if Israel decides to bomb Iran. “I think Israel could be in a very serious situation for quite a time,” warned Meir Dagan.

“There wouldn’t be a military attack that would halt a nuclear Iran, it would only delay it,” clarified Dagan. Although he spent most of his life carrying out terrorist attacks against Arabs, Dagan says that for him there is no pleasure or joy in killing people. He himself has a bunch of paintings in his home, where he portrays Arabs, who he says he admires a lot. “I know it will sound anti-semitic if I say that some of my best friends are Arabs, but I truly, really admire some of the qualities of the Arabs.” Despite the CBS reporter glorification of Dagan’s killings by calling them “exquisitely executed” cover missions and assassinations, Dagan said it wasn’t such a thing. Most people believe that Meir Dagan’s demise from Mossad are a direct consequence of his opposition to attacking Iran as well as for the operation Mossad carried out in Dubai to kill Iranians inside a prominent hotel. It is believed that Benjamin Netanyahu did not offer him the job once again and that this is the reason why he is speaking out in public against any military action against Iran.

Meir Dagan denies he is looking for revenge by speaking out.

Don’t attack Iran, says ex-Mossad chief

Agence France Presse
March 9, 2012

The former chief of Israel’s Mossad spy agency has cautioned against an attack on Iran’s nuclear sites and put his trust firmly in US President Barack Obama to intervene if and when necessary.

Ex-Mossad chief Meir Dagan, together with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Photo: AFP

In excerpts of an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes” program to be aired in full on Sunday, Meir Dagan said he believes the Iranian regime is a “very rational one,” including firebrand President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

“An attack on Iran before you are exploring all other approaches is not the right way,” Dagan said.

“And (President Obama) said openly that the military option is on the table and he is not going to let Iran become a nuclear state, and from my experience, I usually trust the president of the US.”

The Obama administration maintains that tough sanctions on Iran and diplomatic efforts need to be given more time before any resort to bombing raids.

Israeli leaders however say time is running out for any pre-emptive strike. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday that sanctions against Iran have not worked, and “none of us can afford to wait much longer.”

Dagan, who retired in January 2011 after eight years as director of the Israeli intelligence service, has repeatedly warned that an attack could fail to curb Iran’s atomic ambitions while risking engulfing the region in conflict.

In the “60 Minutes” interview, he said he did not believe the Iranians were rushing forward to produce a bomb as they understood the consequences.

“But no doubt, they are considering all the implications of their actions,” Dagan said. “They will have to pay dearly… and I think the Iranians at this point in time are… very careful on the project.”

US military commanders say they have drawn up contingency plans for a potential attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta confirmed as much in an interview Thursday.

Dagan, who refused to be drawn on whether Israel has supported youth opposition groups in Iran, said that trying to foment regime change was a smarter tactic.

“It’s our duty to help anyone who likes to present an open opposition against their regime in Iran,” he said.

Asked if he would rather that Israel waited and allowed the United States to act first, Dagan replied: “If I prefer that someone will do it, I always prefer that Americans will do it.”

Analysts and former US military officers say Israeli aircraft could do serious damage to Iran’s nuclear sites but would face a challenge hitting an underground facility near Qom and that America’s vast air force far outstrips Israel’s capabilities.

The United States, Israel and much of the international community fear Iran’s nuclear program is an attempt to build a weapon — a charge Tehran denies.

Mossad in South America


“N”, a correspondent from an Iranian media agency, whom I met in the association of foreign journalists in Caracas, told me that he Israeli Mossadused to work in Buenos Aires for some time. Things were going well, N’s employer was satisfied with the job he did, and he planned to spend a few more years in Argentine, but eventually had to change his plans. After a while “N” noticed that he was under surveillance and that his mail regularly got stolen. Uninvited guests started to frequent his office. He talked to the local police and counterintelligence service, but both replied they had nothing to do with the problem. They did mention to “N” cautiously that he was in the sphere of interests of «the Zionists». He told me: «The people in my agency in Tehran knew that Iranian citizens often encounter such problems and concluded that the Mossad was planning a provocation against me. This is why I relocated to Venezuela. It is a country friendly to Iran, one enjoys a certain level of security guarantees here and can expect to be protected in case of need».

I had a similar conversation with “F”, a journalist from Syria. He told me frankly that he preferred to stay on the alert even in Venezuela because the Israeli intelligence service watches over all Syrians working in Latin America and often attempts to compromise them. Like most of his countrymen, “F” believes that hostile acts by the Mossad — drugs put in his pocket, allegations of links to Arab terrorists, the emergence of «documentary evidence» of connections to Colombian guerrillas — are likely. “F” said: «I am ready to face whatever happens. I’m not paranoid, I just look at things realistically. I even obtained a gun permit» and showed me a gun he wore under his jacket.

The Mossads’s objectives are listed on its official web site. They include secret collection of operative, political, and strategic information abroad, termination of terrorist activity targeting Israeli and other Jewish installations, prevention of development or acquisition of nuclear weapons by countries hostile to Israel, and covert operations abroad. The January, 2010 killing by the Mossad of the leader of the the paramilitary wing of Hamas Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in a Dubai hotel gives an idea of what the term «covert operations abroad» refers to.

A Mossad hit squad of 11 agents disguised as tourists blocked the corridor leading to the hotel room where al-Mabhouh stayed. Then the Israeli hitmen got inside, electroshocked and strangulated the man. In several hours the Mossad agents left the Emirates with fake British, Canadian, Irish, and Australian passports.

The demonstrative character of the act was supposed to highlight the Mossad’s capability to score with the enemies of Israel in any part of the world. The operation drew extensive coverage in Latin American media, most of which published the photos of the Mossad agents and, of course, that of their chief – the 64 year old Meir Dagan who has long deserved the nickname of «a man with a knife between his teeth». Among other operations, hundreds of killings of Iranian and Iraqi scientists who were involved in military-related research and were regarded as potentially dangerous to Israel are tracked to Dagan.

According to ALAI (Latin America Information Agency), the Mossad is using at least 40 Israeli companies (as well as embassies and other official institutions of the state of Israel) as fronts for its activity. The total number of the Mossad operatives in Latin America is not greater than 100-110, but an extensive network of agents and the cooperation with Jewish organizations and communities ensure the Mossad’s presence across Latin America and the Caribbean.

The Mossad’s interests gravitate to the regions south of the Rio Grande which are densely populated by Arab immigrants. The Mossad analysts believe that the epicenter of the potential «Muslim terrorism» in Latin America is located in the Zone of Three Borders between Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil. Venezuela’s Isla Margarita, a place where Lebanese and Syrian immigrants hunting for pearls started to settle down in the early XX century, is viewed similarly. When a free trade zone was opened on Margarita Island, the Arab populations switched to selling shoes, textile, and bijouterie. The Venezuelan government was a number of times forced to disprove allegations that Chavez hosts Muslim terrorists. In reality, Margarita is a small island where more or less everybody knows everybody else and no secret activity — least the operation of Hezbollah training camps — is possible.

Over the years of spying on the above «terrorist centers» Mossad never discovered the networks that could present a threat to Israel. Nevertheless, the Mossad’s efforts were not wasted, at least since the Israeli «reliable» data were invariably used by Washington in planning its struggle against terrorism in Latin America. This is the mechanism of ideological support for the establishment of increasing numbers of US military bases on the continent in the proximity of the Latin American countries with «populist» regimes.

In many cases, Israeli intelligence operatives are involved in legal arms trade business which they use to gain connections in local military circles and security services.

The Mossad also uses affiliated companies to advise its Latin American colleagues on fighting terrorism, «leftist extremism», guerrilla groups and their support networks, as well as to help intelligence services modernize their technical base. A company most often mentioned in the context is Israel’s Global CST, whose CEOs are retired high-ranking Mossad operatives. In July, 2009 the Peruvian government hired the company to help reorganize the country’s intelligence community in order to boost the efficiency of its struggle against «subversive and terrorist organizations» including the re-emerging Sendero Luminoso Maoist group. Global CST is also helping the Peruvian government create a joint system of control over mobile communications, Internet, and other communications media.

Global CST has grown notably more active in Colombia. The Israeli company familiarizes the country’s military intelligence and political police (DAS) officers with new techniques in the spheres of anti-terrorist activity and espionage. Over recent years, Columbia’s intelligence services have been increasingly assertive outside the country, evidently imitating the modus operandi of their CIA and Mossad peers. Columbia maintains intelligence networks in Brazil, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, and other Latin American countries. The FARC and ELN envoys are finding themselves under permanent surveillance, routinely kidnapped and sometimes — assassinated.

International Security Agency (ISA) mainly staffed by former Israeli special forces officers and intelligence operatives is also active in Latin America. The agency (in tight cooperation with the CIA and the Mossad) took part in the coup that displaced M. Zelaya, the legitimate President of Honduras. Currently ISA specialists are working in the security service of the current President of Honduras P. Lobo, who was propelled to presidency as the result of an imitation of free elections like those Washington realized in Iraq and Afghanistan.

There is a consensus among experts that the Mossad’s number one adversary and target in Latin America is Hugo Chavez, the political leader condemning Israel’s attempts to resolve conflicts in the Middle East by force. Chavez suspended Venezuela’s diplomatic relations with Israel in August, 2006, following the Israeli aggression against Lebanon. At that time Israeli Ambassador Shlomo Cohen and the embassy staff (mostly Mossad operatives) left Caracas. In several months Chavez took steps to normalize the relations with Israel, largely in response to the requests made by Venezuela’s 12,000 Jewish community.

The diplomatic relations between Venezuela and Israel were severed again in January, 2009 when the former protested the crimes committed by the Israeli army in the Gaza Strip, where the Israeli operation resulted in the killing of over 1,000 Palestinians, a third of them — children. In a televised address, Chavez criticized Israel as a country guilty of genocide and inhumane persecution of Palestinians. Not surprisingly, Israel’s reaction was negative. In November, 2009 Shimon Peres addressed a thinly veiled threat to Chavez by saying that «Chavez will soon disappear». The Venezuelan leader remarked that Perez had to undertake a long journey to Latin America to say the words and wondered publicly what would have happened if similar words were said about Peres in Venezuela.

TV commentator and former Venezuelan Vice President José Vicente Rangel often warns in his TV show that the Mossad is planning to assassinate Chavez. Agents with the corresponding qualifications were sent to Columbia, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Panama, and Curacao Island. In Rangel’s view, the greatest threat emanates from Colombia as DAS — instigated by the CIA — already conspired quite a few times to kill Chavez. Alarming comments were also made by US journalist Eva Hollinger who is a renown expert in operations against Venezuela. Author of CIA in Venezuela Hose Sant Ross calls the Venezuelan authorities to be mindful of the Mossad’s operations in the country.

As a rule, the efforts of Venezuelan security services to identify the Mossad agents echo with carefully orchestrated protests staged by the country’s Jewish community and with «solidarity» campaigns across Latin America. Media synchronously respond by charging Chavez with antisemitism and collusion with Muslim extremism.

Actually, the theme of antisemitism recurs due to a range of causes, for example whenever the Venezuelan government takes measures to scrutinize the country’s financial sphere. For decades, there used to be a number of jewelry stores in La Francia building in downtown Caracas, not far from the Venezuelan Foreign ministry, where gold and jewelry were bought and sold with practically no fiscal control. The administration’s attempts to make the business take legal shape and to subject the accounting documents of the stores to the long-overdue audit were condemned by the opposition media as persecution of Jewish businessmen. Nevertheless, the announcement of the coming audit had an explosive effect: in a matter of hours La Francia building was completely abandoned. The most valuable stuff was evacuated secretly at night.

Venezuelan counterintelligence agents watched the process from a distance, occasionally taking pictures. They did not expect to learn anything new — it was known that the Mossad used La Francia to carry out its financial transactions.