Media Blackout: U.S. and Iran Tensions Rise -- Iran Claims Arrest of 290 CIA Agents; U.S. Sends 2 Aircraft Carriers To Mediterranean; Bolton & Pompeo Issue Threats
By Aaron Kesel
U.S. and Iranian tensions are rising at a rapid rate. National Security Adviser John Bolton has publicly acknowledged deploying the U.S.S Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) region as a "clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force."
However, this follows reports on April 22nd that the U.S.S. John C. Stennis and Abraham Lincoln carrier strike groups have joined the US Mediterranean 6th Fleet for the first time in more than two years, as DEBKAfile reported. For those unaware, DEBKA is used by Mossad intelligence very frequently to get their news/intelligence within the Middle East.
An earlier report by the Navy's military site actually announced the deployment in early April.
This means that the U.S. may have two carrier strike groups within striking distance of Iran, not just one as the U.S. media is reporting, and DEBKAfile may have leaked intelligence (archived.) Although Vice Adm Lisa Franchetti is the source of the story, this writer couldn't find a source for any of the quotes external to DEBKAfile.
Vice Admiral Franchetti commented that it was a rare opportunity for two strike groups to work together alongside key allies and partners in the region. Our sources say she was referring to British, French and Israeli naval forces. The vice admiral, who has served as 6th Fleet commander since early 2018, added: “The dual carrier operations in the Mediterranean showcase the flexibility and scalability maritime forces provide to the joint force, while demonstrating our ironclad commitment to the stability and security of the region.”
One day prior on April 21st, the Trump administration announced it would end its waiver program for countries importing Iranian oil. The Trump administration is now warning it will start imposing sanctions on countries such as India, China, and Turkey that buy Iranian oil as part of its “maximum pressure” campaign.
Eight countries -- China, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Turkey -- were initially given six-month reprieves after the United States reimposed sanctions on Iran in November, following President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear accord which Activist Post reported. Those reprieves expired on May 2nd according to a Bloomberg report.
China, arguably one of the largest buyers of Iranian oil, reiterated its opposition to unilateral sanctions and accused the U.S. of reaching beyond its jurisdiction. “China’s cooperation with Iran is open, transparent, reasonable and legitimate, and should be respected,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said in response to a question on the waivers at a briefing in Beijing, CNN reported.
Iran has called the sanctions "illegal" according to a statement by the foreign ministry, Ewn.co.za reported.
"Since the sanctions in question are principally illegal, the Islamic Republic of Iran did not and does not attach any value or credibility to the waivers given to the sanctions," the foreign ministry said in a statement issued on its official website.
Reuters reports that,
If China does not cut Iran oil purchases to zero, the Trump administration may have to make a decision on blocking Chinese banks from the U.S. financial system. That could have unintended consequences for finance and business between the world’s two biggest economies, already in negotiations over trade disagreements.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has warned all countries to reduce their Iranian oil imports to zero in an April 22 statement; Pompeo said no nation would receive any further exemptions or waivers from U.S. sanctions.
On April 28th, a week later after announcing an end to the waiver program it was reported by Associated Free Press that Iran was planning to close the Strait of Hormuz, one of the world's most crucial transport routes for oil. About a third of the world's oil tanker traffic passes through the Strait, which is bordered by Iran and Oman. In 2016, 18.5 million barrels of petroleum were shipped through it every day, making it the world's single most important maritime route for many nations' oil supplies, Greenwich Time reported.
"We are not after closing the Strait of Hormuz but if the hostility of enemies increase, we will be able to do so," armed forces chief of staff Mohammad Bagheri told semi-official ISNA.
"Also if our oil does not go through the strait, other countries' oil will certainly not cross the strait, too," he added.
Another Iranian official echoed the sentiment that Iran wouldn't close the Hormuz Strait, but said that Iran is prepared to defend itself against U.S. aggression.
"We believe Iran will continue to sell its oil ... (and) use the Strait of Hormuz. But if the United States takes the crazy measure of trying to prevent us from doing that, then it should be prepared for the consequences," foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Wednesday.
"It is in our vital national security interest to keep the Persian Gulf open, to keep the Strait of Hormuz open. We have done that in the past and we will continue to do that in the future," he added.
The U.S just formally announced in early May through ABC News and other MSM sources that there are "clear indications" Iranian and Iranian proxy forces were preparing for a possible attack against U.S. forces on land, including in Iraq and Syria, and at sea.
“We have continued to see activity that leads us to believe that there’s escalation that may be taking place, and so we’re taking all the appropriate actions, both from a security perspective as well as our ability to make sure the president has a wide range of options in the event that something should actually take place,” Pompeo told reporters.
The Trump administration has accused Iran and militias that it backs of threatening American troops within the Middle East without citing any evidence of the plots.
However, that's not the full story, there is much more going on here that the U.S. press is ignoring that we shouldn't turn a blind eye to. Before the U.S. said it would send 2 carrier strike groups on April 22nd, it was reported by Press TV (which is based in Iran) that Iranian forces had "identified 290 CIA agents across different countries, forcing the U.S. to form a special committee to reassess its cloak-and-dagger operations" according to Iranian Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi. Other news sites including a Russia-based site Rossaprimavera states the statement was actually made on April 19th.
"CIA operatives in those countries were identified and arrested and the contacts of the U.S. intelligence agency with its sources were disrupted in such a way that a committee to assess the failure was set up in America," Iranian Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi said.
Another report by the Tehran Times corroborated the Press TV report and stated: “Tens of spies who were employed by foreign intelligence services were identified in the country’s sensitive centers and were arrested."
Alavi further referred to a Yahoo News article, specifically highlighting a quote from American national security analyst with the Government Accountability Project, a nonprofit that works with whistleblowers, Irvin McCullough, who described a major American intelligence setback in 2009 when Iranian intelligence got its hands on unknown CIA communication software, as "one of the most catastrophic intelligence failures” since the September 11th attacks in 2001.
While it's known and widely reported by the Western press that the CIA had its communications network exposed during 2009-2013, no other news media besides Arab-based outlets has reported the statement from Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi and arrests at the time of this report.
It's often that the press is used for disinformation among intelligence agencies worldwide; while this is true, it can also be said that if it's true that CIA officials were arrested and Iran was the cause, the threats against U.S. forces may have already been committed. It's worth noting that not only have arrests recently been carried out according to Iran, but elsewhere in China where 30 agents were working for the US were caught and executed as well. It was previously thought that "more than a dozen" had been killed according to the NY Times.
Typically, the U.S. and intelligence communities wouldn't confirm or deny if such actions had taken place, and instead would run a covert operation not using the media, but this situation may be different. So while they are not telling the full story, they are leaking bits and pieces to the mainstream press about deploying bombers and an aircraft carrier.
Thanks to the modern technology of the Internet, intelligence agencies can longer hide massive intelligence failures. With all that said, it's very interesting and coincidental that all this is happening at once; the report can't be simply shrugged off as Iranian propaganda, especially since it cites a known CIA intelligence failure. While the conflicting reports of U.S.S carriers in the region can't be ignored either, it seems to point to something more going on here that they aren't telling the full story about.
Both countries just designated each other to be terrorist organizations as well, so one can only speculate with grandiose evidence that war may be around the corner with Iran. Especially if the Iranians close the Strait of Hormuz, giving the U.S. a "reason" to attack Iranian forces with both land, sea and aircraft.
There are now two Iranian war hawks who hold pull when it comes to military decisions in Iran.
In November 2016, way before Trump even considered Bolton for National Security Advisor, Bolton stated that regime change in Iran was the only way.
“The ayatollahs are the principal threat to international peace and security in the Middle East,” Bolton told Breitbart News Daily, a radio program run by the hard-right website with close ties to Donald Trump. “Now, their ouster won’t bring sweetness and light to the region, that’s for sure, but it will eliminate the principal threat.”
“I think the people of Iran would long for a new regime,” Bolton continued, later suggesting that the U.S. should support opposition groups looking to overthrow it. “I don’t think the regime is popular, but I think it has the guns. And I think there are ways of supporting the opposition that does not involve the use of American military force, that does involve helping the opposition to get a different kind of government.”
But Bolton's far from the only pawn in place for regime change in Iran and another war — Mike Pompeo is now U.S. Secretary of State. War hawk Pompeo previously downplayed the cost of bombing Iran:
In an unclassified setting, it is under 2,000 sorties to destroy the Iranian nuclear capacity. This is not an insurmountable task for the coalition forces.
Even further, in his statement on July 14, 2015, the day the nuclear accord was reached, then Rep. Pompeo argued that Iran “is intent on the destruction of our country,” and said “this deal allows Iran to continue its nuclear program – that’s not foreign policy; it’s surrender.”
If Pompeo needed to be any more blunt, one of his tweets from before he became CIA director is a tell-all of his plans as Secretary of State.
The now deleted tweet stated:
I look forward to rolling back this disastrous deal with the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism.
Pompeo also introduced several bills intended to further divide diplomacy with Iran, including one that passed the House which would block the U.S. from purchasing heavy water from Iran; and another that would effectively impose further sanctions than existed prior to the deal under the disguise of targeting Iran’s ballistic missile program, which would directly violate the deal.
That’s right, the two people in charge of foreign policy in the U.S. (excluding CFR members) are in agreement and anti-Iran. That means that more than likely Trump’s administration will be the one that starts war with Iran, unless some miracle happens.
As journalist Caitlin Johnstone pointed out the CIA has even set up a new organization tasked with focusing on Iran.
Back in June the Wall Street Journal published a report saying that America’s Central Intelligence Agency had set up a new organization whose sole task would be to focus on Iran under the direction of “Ayatollah Mike” D’andrea, an aggressive Iran hawk.
Besides the Trump administration, there has always been an element within the government that was working towards the “5 years 7 countries plan” plotted by high top brass at the Pentagon in 2001 mere weeks after 9/11, that 4-star General Wesley Clark warned about in 2007. Clark warned that the U.S. would invade 7 countries within 5 years with the last remaining country being, you guessed it, Iran!
Older readers may feel a sense of déjà vu as 65 years ago in 1953, the CIA planned Operation Ajax in conjunction with MI6 in the UK to exploit the Iranian people and steal their oil on behalf of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC) – the British state-owned oil company established in 1908. Free Thought Project's Matt Agorist highlighted this in an article last year.
It's worth mentioning that Iran planned to deploy warships in the Atlantic for 5 months earlier this year in March, Reuters reported. At the time, Iranian Rear Adm. Touraj Hassani, reportedly said Iran was planning to deploy two to three combat vessels, including its new destroyer named the Sahand, on a mission to the anti-U.S. socialist country of Venezuela in March. right in America’s backyard. Although, there is no information on whether or not they followed through with this operation or not. Regardless it's worth mentioning with all these other geopolitical moves by the U.S. that Iran is also making moves as well.
“The Atlantic Ocean is far and the operation of the Iranian naval flotilla might take five months,” Iranian Rear Adm. Touraj Hassani told the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), noting that the flotilla will leave on March 21, Reuters reported.
If that's not enough, and it certainly should be, Iran accused the U.S. of terrorism in February for a suicide bombing in the country's Sistan-Baluchestan province, and vowed to punish the "criminal mercenaries" who carried out the attack that killed 27 members of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Armed group Jaish al-Adl (Army of Justice) claimed responsibility for the attack, which also left 13 other Revolutionary Guard members injured, Aljazeera reported.
“All of those small mercenary countries that we see in this region are backed by America. It is Americans who instigate them and provide them with necessary means to commit these crimes,” (Iranian President) Rouhani said.
The CIA has admitted that in the 1950s they hired Iranians to pose as Communists and stage bombings in Iran in order to turn the country against its democratically-elected prime minister Mohammed Mossadegh. So the argument that the CIA would never arm terrorists, let alone give them explosives, is null and void. The question is, would they do it again and risk world war three?
If you don’t hear those war drums by now you aren’t paying attention. The sad fact is that conflict could break out between these superpowers at any moment; and while that may be paranoid to state, the extensive military movements happening can’t be dismissed and should be taken very seriously.
Aaron Kesel writes for Activist Post. Support us at Patreon. Follow us on Minds, Steemit, SoMee, BitChute, Facebook and Twitter. Ready for solutions? Subscribe to our premium newsletter Counter Markets.
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