The anti-Iran powers in the U.S. again try to smear Iran as allied with al-Qaeda. The accusations will be used to justify further hostilities against the country.
Suddenly an anonymous, and likely fake, document appears and is prominently launched into public circulation. To provide plausibility for the publishing the new CIA director Mike Pompeo ordered his staff to release additional data allegedly found in Osama Bin Laden‘s compound in Abbottabad in Pakistan.
These “new” papers were first released to the neoconservative anti-Iran lobby Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Among the “hundred thousands” of pages a mysterious 19 page document is claimed to prove Iranian collaboration with al-Qaeda. The way the release was handled and the prominence put on this one specific paper indicates that the now released stash was “spiked” with this document to initiate hostilities against Iran.
We have been here before. Fake documents produced by the CIA and neo-conservative think-tanks were used to allege that Saddam Hussein was buying Uranium in Niger (copy below). False claims were made that Saddam had contacts with the perpetrators of the 9/11 attack in New York.
Former CIA Career Analyst Ned Price explains the politics behind the new release:
Ned Price @nedprice – 6:30 PM – 1 Nov 2017
- @CIA released what it claims are the final public files from Bin Laden’s lair. I’m all for transparency, but this isn’t about that.
- In Jan, DNI, which led the declassification effort, released what it said was the final tranche of Bin Laden files. Link
- The DNI-led review was overseen by career intel officials, who concluded that, w the Jan files, all those of public interest were released.
- But a funny thing happened when CIA Director Pompeo came into office. I’m told he re-launched a review of the files.
- In doing so, he took officers away from important missions to pore—and re-pore—over the millions of documents.
- How can we be sure this was a CIA effort? Unlike previous releases, today’s files are hosted on CIA.gov, not the DNI site.
- He said as much at the gathering of a conservative group, @FDD, opposed to the Iran deal in September. Link
- As luck would have it, CIA provided an advance copy of today’s files to @LongWarJournal, this group’s publication. Link
- The ploy is transparent despite the fact that the newly-released documents don’t tell us anything we didn’t already know.
- What’s not as transparent are the motives of Pompeo, the administration’s leading and most influential Iran hawk.
- Remember Cheney on @MeetThePress, pointing to Atta’s supposed Prague meeting w Iraqi officials? It was a key element of the march to war.
- History doesn’t repeat itself but it does rhyme. Need to remain vigilant to ensure Pompeo isn’t able to write it.
The CIA’s outlet for these papers, the FDD, writes about the cache:
The CIA is releasing hundreds of thousands of documents, images, and computer files recovered during the May 2011 raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
The CIA provided FDD’s Long War Journal with an advance copy of many of the files. It will take years for experts and researchers to comb through this treasure trove of information. However, we offer some preliminary observations below.
It is astonishing, and quite suspicious, that the FDD immediately ‘found’ one very specific document out of “hundreds of thousands which will take years to comb through”. This one specific document allegedly ‘proves’ that Iran is in cahoots with al-Qaeda:
The files provide new details concerning al Qaeda’s relationship with Iran.One never-before-seen 19-page document contains a senior jihadist’s assessment of the group’s relationship with Iran. The author explains that Iran offered some “Saudi brothers” in al Qaeda “everything they needed,” including “money, arms” and “training in Hezbollah camps in Lebanon, in exchange for striking American interests in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf.” Iranian intelligence facilitated the travel of some operatives with visas, while sheltering others. Abu Hafs al-Mauritani, an influential ideologue prior to 9/11, helped negotiate a safe haven for his jihadi comrades inside Iran. But the author of the file, who is clearly well-connected, indicates that al Qaeda’s men violated the terms of the agreement and Iran eventually cracked down on the Sunni jihadists’ network, detaining some personnel. Still, the author explains that al Qaeda is not at war with Iran and some of their “interests intersect,” especially when it comes to being an “enemy of America.”
This very document is the sole one in the stash FDD now uses to insinuate cooperation between Iran and al-Qaeda. Other Bin Laden documents that were included in earlier releases provided the exact opposite. In 2012 Reuters headlined: Documents show tense al Qaeda-Iran relationship:
Al Qaeda’s relationship with Iran’s government has been fractious at best and openly antagonistic at worst, according to documents confiscated from Osama bin Laden’s hideout in Pakistan and made public on Thursday.
The one new document that now changes the old assessment by 180 degree is of course the one the Telegraph and other neoconservative outlets immediately point out: Trove of Bin Laden documents reveal Iran’s secret dealings with al-Qaeda.
But how come that an assessment from a “senior jihadist” received by Bin Laden is anonymous? How does FDD know that the author is “senior”? Why doesn’t he have a name?
The alleged “senior jihadist” paper wants us to believe that Iran offered al-Qaeda “training in Hezbollah camps in Lebanon”? That is ludicrous. Al-Qaeda always had an anti-Shia ideology and agenda. It is not plausible that the Shia majority Iran would ask the Shia organization Hizbullah to train the anti-Shia killer gangs of al-Qaeda.
Al-Qaeda is an enemy of Iran. After the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in 2001 some al-Qaeda members and their families fled towards Iran. They had no other place to go. All of them were immediately detained or put under house arrest. A deal was made in which al-Qaeda promised to refrain from attacking Iran while Iran would keep these hostages unharmed. The al-Qaeda members were not “guests” in Iran. In its yearly Country Reports on Terrorism the U.S. State Department notes:
Iran remained unwilling to bring to justice senior al-Qa’ida (AQ) members it continued to detain, and refused to publicly identify those senior members in its custody.
In 2015 Iran released some al-Qaeda members in exchange for an Iranian diplomat al-Qaeda had taken hostage in Yemen. That is not the record of a friendly relation.
The 19-pages document is not plausible. It was obviously produced and prominently launched for a specific political purpose. It contradicts earlier released papers as well as the historic record.
Professor Max Abrams notes:
Max Abrahms @MaxAbrahms – 4:05 AM – 2 Nov 2017
- The regime change playbook plays on American fears of Salafist terrorists by claiming the target-leadership supports them.
- For Saddam it was that he supported Al Qaeda. For Assad it was that he supported ISIS. For Iran it will increasingly stress Al Qaeda ties.
Add to that the equally implausible recent claims that Russia is supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan. (With what? Rusty AK-47s?)
It seems likely that the “never-before-seen 19-page document” with “a senior jihadist’s assessment” was written up in Langley or Tel Aviv. It was then put into the stash of the now released Bin Laden files to give it a somewhat plausible origin. FDD was specifically pointed to that very document to bring it into public circulation.
This is clearly reminiscent of the Bush/Cheney regime’s campaign against Iraq in which faked documents claimed that Saddam was buying Uranium from Niger and that he had contacts with the perpetrators of 9/11. The release of this document is primitive warmongering propaganda.
So primitive indeed that many will fall for it.
Others are equally suspicious of this release. Ankit Panda in The Diplomat asks: Was the bulk release of Osama Bin Laden’s Abbottabad data trove an act of transparency or something else?