No Lesson Learned From JFK: Parallels To Confronting Iran and Israel’s Nuclear Program

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    President Kennedy meets with Chairman Khrushchev at the U. S. Embassy residence on June 3, 1961 in Vienna. U. S. Dept. of State photograph in the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library, Boston.

    President Kennedy meets with Chairman Khrushchev at the U. S. Embassy residence on June 3, 1961 in Vienna. U.S. Dept. of State photograph in the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library, Boston.


    MINNEAPOLIS – (MintPress) – It reads like a plot of a bad thriller, with the assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists, the detaining government agent prisoner X over alleged revelations of Israeli secrets, and Israeli and U.S. cyber attacks to derail Iran’s nuclear energy program, but would consumers of the news media think this is the the act of the American and Israeli government?

    Leading this highly-charged rhetoric of conflict, threats, recriminations and espionage is Israel.

    Over the last four years Israel has waged a war against Iran’s nuclear program. In the latest round of threats, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he is ready to order a strike on Iran if international sanctions do not stop its nuclear program.

    “I am, of course, ready to press the button if necessary,” he said.

    Israeli policy is pushing the world closer into a conflict that no one wants, and as the world stands on a nuclear crossroad, it appears that we have been here before.

     

    History repeats

    In October 1962, President John. F Kennedy (JFK) pulled the U.S. back from the brink of a nuclear war. The Cuban missile crisis was a 13-day standoff over the installation of nuclear-armed Soviet missiles in Cuba. With Cuba being only 90 miles away from the United States, this was perceived to be a threat to national security. And so the U.S. entered into a war of words where neither Soviet Leader Khrushchev nor Kennedy wanted to back down.

    They pushed the world to the brink of a nuclear war. The tense conflict was resolved with the Soviet Union removing missiles from Cuba in exchange for the U.S. promising not to invade Cuba. Kennedy also secretly agreed to remove U.S. missiles from Turkey.

    President Obama’s upcoming visit to Israel is seen as a make-it-or-break-it deal on the issue of nuclear weapons.

    The president is publicly walking a very fine line in his negotiations with Israel, firstly to persuade Israel and its leadership that the U.S. means what it says about stopping Iran from building a nuclear weapon, but also the president needs to give the Iranian government sufficient face-saving room to accept a diplomatic solution. But behind the scenes there is a very different story.

    The U.S and Israeli governments have worked jointly to derail Iran’s nuclear program using covert operations that harks back to the Cold War.

    In 1963 in a letter to then Prime Minister Eshkol, Kennedy expressed in his deep concerns over issues of global proliferation nuclear weapons and the Israeli nuclear program in the Israeli city Dimona and their refusal to allow U.S. inspectors. Kennedy wrote,

    “I am sure you will agree that these visits should be as nearly as possible in accord with international standards, thereby resolving all doubts as to the peaceful intent of the Dimona project. As I wrote Mr. Ben-Gurion, (the previous Israeli Prime Minister)  this government’s commitment to and support of Israel could be seriously jeopardized if it should be thought that we were unable to obtain reliable information on a subject as vital to the peace as the question of Israel’s effort in the nuclear field.”

    The Israeli government and its secret intelligence agency Mossad fought Kennedy on this issue. PM Eshkol refused to back down on the issue of U.S. inspections and Mossad agents worked to obtain nuclear secrets from other countries.

    In 1962, Mossad agents abducted Heinz Krug, West German rocket scientist working on Egypt’s missile program from his company offices in Munich’s Schillerstrasse. Although his body was never found, Swiss police later arrested two Mossad agents for threatening the daughter of another scientist and found that they were responsible for the killing as part of Operation Damocles. In 1962 Mossad sent a letter bomb to Heluan’s rocket factory in Egypt that injured the secretary who opened the package.

    Now in 2013, The U.S and Israeli governments have publicly pushed for diplomatic solutions to Iran, by threatening sanctions and inspections of nuclear plant, but behind closed doors, old games of assassination have been played out.

    Over the last four years, there has been a catalogue of unexplained explosions and assassinations that have killed four Iranian nuclear scientists and crippled and injured several more people.

    The attacks on Iranian scientists has been widely condemned by all nation states, but the Tehran government itself had little doubt over who was to blame — President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad quickly pointed the finger at “western governments and the Zionist regime.”

    In 2012, Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, a professor at the Technical University of Tehran, died after a bomb was placed on his car by a motorcyclist. In November 2010, Majid Shahriari, member of the nuclear engineering faculty at Shahid Beheshti University, was killed in Tehran after a bomb attached to his car by another motorcyclist in Tehran. Another scientist, Fereydoon Abbasi Davani — future head of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran — was seriously hurt in a separate attack. And in January 2010 — Massoud Ali Mohammadi, a physics professor, died when a motorcycle rigged with explosives detonated near his car.

    Today there is no evidence to prove that Mossad agents were responsible for the killing of scientists to derail Iran’s nuclear program, but a picture is beginning to assemble, exposing the Israeli espionage techniques and prefered methods of killing.

    In a rare interview with British writer and broadcast journalist, Gordon Thomas, Amit, head of Mossad, revealed his rules for assassination. During the interview he showed how he trained Mossad agents and revealed the system of helpers who give agents cars, then equip them to set up bombs.

    “There are tens of thousands of these “helpers.” Each has been carefully recruited, sometimes by katsas, Mossad’s field agents … In practical terms, a “helper” who runs a car rental agency will provide a kidon (operative) with a vehicle on a no-questions basis. An estate agent “helper” will provide a building for surveillance. A bank manager “helper’ will provide funds at any time of day or night, and a “helper” doctor provides medical assistance.”

    It is not known that these “helpers” were involved in the assassination of four Iran scientist, but each scientist was killed in bombs planted in vehicles.

     

    U.S. derails Iran’s nuclear program

    As President Obama attempts to negotiate a diplomatic solution to Iran’s nuclear program on his visit to Israel, the president cannot escape the past and U.S. government covert operations to derail Iran’s nuclear program in the form of a computer virus.

    In 2009 the U.S. and Israeli government introduced a stealth computer virus — Stuxnet — into Iran’s uranium production program. The virus was designed to wreck the production quality of uranium, rendering it useless and inactive. The damage was so great that this virus temporarily closed down Iran’s nuclear program in 2010.

    Iran’s pursuit to attain nuclear energy is cause for concern for Israel and the U.S. government; both believe that the quantity of uranium used leads to nuclear weapons. The Iranians argue they are only trying to refine sufficient uranium as fuel for power generation and medical research.

    Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu will use President Obama’s forthcoming visit to Israel as another opportunity to negotiate military strikes on Iran. Critics believe that Netanyahu may have to give into negotiations over Palestine as a country issue if he wants U.S. military strikes on Iran.

    “Obama will have Netanyahu in his pocket if he truly manages to convince him that the United States will use military force if necessary,” said Jonathan Adelman, a professor and Israeli specialist at the University of Denver. “Then, Netanyahu will be comfortable saying: `You deal with the Iranians and we will give you serious negotiations with the Palestinians.’”

    President Obama’s visit to Israel will be seen by many as the biggest test of his Presidency. The issue of Palestine and Iran’s nuclear program are just too big to get wrong.


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