08 May 2012

FLASH--I/Cy-WAR - SWG(A) - CTC Whitewashing Iran / al Qaeda-Connections?--LD

US/1; ATTN: US/5; IS/[redacted]

[ed.note: In May 1996, Osama bin LADEN sat down with Hezbollah Security Chief Imad Mugnieyah, mastermind of the Beirut Marine Barracks bombing, for an all-night Khartoum pow-wow (apologies, Member Bearfighter). The two stayed up, swilling tea and reminiscing about the 241 US Marines slaughtered in the 1983 Beirut barracks attack and their FIRST Joint Terror Venture in 1993 Mogadishu, wherein 18 Rangers and DELTA Operators were killed and their bodies dragged through the trash-strewn, red-dust alleyways...CTC Abbottabad documents ATTACHED.]

Posted: 06 May 2012 07:44 AM PDT

Some documents captured in the bin Laden raid have been declassified and released along with some analysis by the Combatting Terrorism Center. They seem to think that there is no cooperation between al Qaeda and the Iranians, but base this on a small subset of the documents captured and ignoring considerable evidence that the Mullahs and AQ do a fair amount of the good work of jihad together. Tom Joscelyn considers this at the Long War Journal.

The CTC's report was based on a slim release of just 17 declassified documents, and only some of those deal with Iran. Thousands of other files seized during the Abbottabad raid have been translated but were not included in the CTC's release. The CTC's broad conclusion about Iran and al Qaeda is based on a narrow set of documents that focus on the abduction of an Iranian diplomat named Hesmatollah Atharzadeh and other unspecified covert activities. Al Qaeda had pressured Iran to speed up the release of al Qaeda operatives and family members in exchange for Atharzadeh's freedom. 

According to senior US intelligence officials contacted by The Long War Journal, however, the documents dealing with this tense detainee exchange present just one window on a broader relationship. Other documents from bin Laden's files that were not included in the document release point to instances of collusion between al Qaeda and Iran.

So even among the documents from the raid itself there is evidence that they are working together, but the CTC says "nothing to see here move along". There is more readily available info about this cooperation as well, a lot of it from the Obama administration itself as they designated several partnerships between AQ and Iran as terrorists entities.

In a letter accompanying the CTC report, General John Abizaid cautioned that the 17 declassified documents released to the public "likely represent only a fraction of the materials reportedly taken from" bin Laden's compound. Abizaid also warned that the report should not be taken as a "definitive commentary on al Qaeda's evolution or the group's current status." Abizaid continued by explaining that "analysis based on captured documents alone is fraught with risk," and the documents "are most valuable when contextualized with information drawn from other sources." 

The CTC's analysts proceeded to ignore these cautionary remarks and issued a strongly-worded conclusion, based on a paltry set of documents, about Iran's relationship with al Qaeda. In the process, they ignored everything - including Yasin al Suri's network and the "agreement" between Iran and al Qaeda that allows it to exist on Iranian soil - that got in the way of their apparently preconceived conclusion.

A senior US intelligence official tells the Long War Journal that additional documents dealing with the relationship between Iran and al Qaeda were excluded from what the CTC was shown. Those documents are a "mixed bag," the official says, with some showing other "antagonistic" incidents and still others showing collusion.

Somehow the CTC is given only a few documents which seem to show that AQ and Iran are at odds. Who could have a vested interest in making sure there is no tie between the Mullahs, who only seek nukes for peaceful means, and the world's most prolific terror franchise? I'll answer that, our Campaigner in Chief who needs to neutralize the threat a nuked-up Iran presents to his re-election. So O's national security team cherry-picks a few things from the bin Laden stash to prove that point and then tasks the CTC with evaluating them so they have an AHA document to roll up real small and poke Mitt Romney in the eye with. "See, Iran and AQ hate each other. 

The Mullahs would never support terror". I think the 241 dead Marines from the Beirut bombing, and many other victims of the Iranians, would beg to differ if they could.

[190 US Citizens on Pan Am Fl-103, 21 DEC 1988; 241 Beirut, OCT 1983; 19 at Khobar Towers US military barracks, Dharan, Saudi Arabia, 22 JUN 1996; 18 at Mogadishu, 3-4 OCT 1993, for example…US/1]

Somebody at the CTC needs to stand up and answer why they would release something that completely ignores the blisteringly obvious and easily available info about Iran and AQ. Joscelyn's piece is headlined "Analysis: Spinning Iran & al Qaeda Part 1". I will be anxiously awaiting the follow ups and a deeper look at what CTC is up to, and more importantly what the Iranians and AQ are up to.

RETURN to the BlackNET Intellignce Channel-FLASH- OPEN SOURCE

Partners in Pre-ANTI-CRIMEAl Qaida Papers Highlight Tense Dealings With Iran

By: Brian Murphy, Associated Press
05/07/2012 ( 6:45am)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — In the rigid enemy-or-ally world view of Osama bin Laden and his chief lieutenants, Iran occupied a spot somewhere in between — a state seen as arrogant, enigmatic and driven by self interest, according to newly released al-Qaida documents. 

Yet there is also a sense that al-Qaida recognizes the importance of Iran's role in the region and the need to keep some level of dialogue. 

The papers — seized in last year's raid on bin Laden's Pakistan hide-out and posted online Thursday by the U.S. Army's Combating Terrorism Center — portray al-Qaida's relations with Iran as clouded by deep mutual distrust and sharply divergent interests. 

A June 2009 al-Qaida memo — possibly to bin Laden — refers to the Iranian government as "criminals" in a no-holds bashing of its opaque and unpredictable policies. 

"The criminals did not send us any letter," wrote al-Qaida's top Afghanistan commander, Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, about the earlier kidnapping of an Iranian diplomat in Pakistan that was believed carried out by militants linked to al-Qaida. 

"Such behavior is, of course, not unusual for (the Iranians); indeed it is typical of their mindset and methods," continued al-Rahman, who was killed the following year in a CIA drone strike in the Waziristan region of Pakistan. "They do not wish to appear to be negotiating with us or responding to our pressures." 

In one narrow sense, al-Qaida and the West share this much: exasperation over Tehran's shifting and often contradictory messages that extend all the way to talks over its nuclear program. 

The full extent of the interplay between Iran and al-Qaida remains unclear to Western policymakers. But the newly disclosed documents reinforce the long-held consensus that there is little common ground. 

Al-Qaida operatives — and even bin Laden relatives — used Iran as an escape route during the U.S.-led military campaign in Afghanistan after the Sept. 11. attacks. 
Iran was not willing to be an open passageway, however. Dozens of top al-Qaida figures, including one of bin Laden's sons, Omar, were placed under house arrest-style detention. Many were later released, but several high-ranking al-Qaida figures are believed to remain in Iran under close surveillance, including the network's most senior military strategist, Saif al-Adel, one of the alleged masterminds of the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa

In 2010, another of bin Laden's sons, Khalid, sent a letter to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei claiming that his relatives were mistreated and "beaten and silenced." Al-Qaida's branch in North Africa issued a warning to Iran over the matter. Khalid was among those killed in the U.S. raid on bin Laden's compound in Pakistan a year ago. 

The reasons behind the mutual suspicions cut across many of the region's main flashpoints. 

Iran was a major foe of Afghanistan's Taliban, which sheltered al-Qaida before the Sept. 11 attacks and remains its close ally. In 1998, Sunni-led Taliban forces overran Mazar-e-Sharif in northern Afghanistan and were accused of killing eight Iranian diplomats as well as Afghans with cultural and religious ties to Iran, a Shiite power.
In Iraq, Sunni insurgents backed by al-Qaida often targeted Shiites in attempts to trigger an all-out civil war during the occupation by American forces. 

Some hard-line militants backing al-Qaida — which is made up almost entirely of Islam's majority Sunnis — consider Islam's Shiite branch as heretical and view Iran's regional ambitions as a greater threat than the West. Last year, the al-Qaida faction in Yemen declared "holy war" against Shiite rebels that get apparent indirect support from Tehran

Iran, meanwhile, is acutely aware of the consequences if it is perceived as accommodating toward al-Qaida. Key Iranian allies such as Russia and China tolerate Tehran's backing for anti-Israel militant groups led by Hamas and Hezbollah, but any major concessions to al-Qaida would risk crippling blows to Iran's strategic networks. 

A possible motive for keeping the al-Qaida figures under Iranian custody is as insurance against possible retaliation attacks by the terror group. Also they could be used as bargaining chips with the West. In 2003, Iran received rare Western praise after giving the U.N. Security Council the names of 225 al-Qaida suspects detained after illegally crossing into Iran. The suspects were later deported to their countries in the Middle East, Europe and Africa.

The list included Yemen-born Naser Abdel Karim al-Wahishi, bin Laden's former private secretary, who was sent to his homeland and later escaped prison and helps lead the group al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. Another, according to the newly released documents, was Salim al-Misri, who is believed to have received explosives training from Hezbollah

The most direct contact between Iran and the al-Qaida leadership may have come during eventual negotiations in late 2009 to free the kidnapped diplomat, Heshmatollah Attarzadeh, who was held for nearly 15 months and released in March 2010. 

Western officials believe that al-Qaida, in return for its help in freeing Attarzadeh, won the release of dozens of al-Qaida operatives and bin Laden family members, and better treatment for others remaining in Iranian custody. 

In his June 2009 letter, the al-Qaida commander al-Rahman claimed the terror group outmaneuvered Iran's envoys during the talks over "their friend" Attarzadeh. 

"Our efforts, which included escalating a political and media campaign, the threats we made, the kidnapping of their friend ... and other reasons that scared them," he wrote, "(were) among the reasons that led them to expedite" the release of the al-Qaida detainees. Continue Reading FULL Story HERE...


The Long War Journal: Analysis: Nearly all of bin Laden's documents should be released
Written by Thomas Joscelyn & Bill Roggio

 May 3, 2012 11:55 AM -- The Long War Journal

Available online at: http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2012/05/analysis_nearly_all.php

Here at the Long War Journal, we have been anxiously awaiting the release of the documents captured in Osama bin Laden's Abbottabad, Pakistan compound one year ago. According to informed US intelligence officials, thousands of documents were taken from bin Laden's lair, as was video and other types of media.

Today, the Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) at West Point released translations of a grand total of "17 declassified documents...totaling 175 pages in the original Arabic and 197 pages in English translation." 

This is a paltry subset of the documents and media captured. 

We think that nearly all of Osama bin Laden's files should be declassified and released to the public - not just a tiny fraction of them. In this case, there are no sources and methods to protect. Everyone knows how and when the captured files were obtained.
There is undoubtedly information contained in the files that is still operationally relevant, and exceptions to declassification can be made in some cases. 

Overall, however, the government should declassify and release nearly all of bin Laden's files. Some of the files were authored more than a decade ago, yet none of those dated documents were released today. The earliest document released by CTC is dated September 2006. This means that any documents pertaining to the planning of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the Oct. 12, 2000 USS Cole bombing, and the Aug. 7, 1998 embassy bombings were not released. Yet, these are the types of documents that deal directly with al Qaeda's assault on American interests that precipitated more than a decade of controversial counterterrorism measures and wars.

It is clear from the media's reporting on the documents that some journalists have either been shown, or informed of, many more documents than those released today. And those documents produce intriguing leads for understanding al Qaeda. There is no reason to think that this reporting has jeopardized security in any way. Accordingly, the documents underlying that reporting should be released.
Consider two examples. 

First, some of the documents reportedly indicate that Osama bin Laden had a hand in planning the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks, which were executed by Lashkar-e-Taiba, an al Qaeda ally that is also closely tied to the Pakistani military and intelligence establishment. [See LWJ report, Osama bin Laden helped plan Mumbai attacks.] The source for this reporting is Bruce Riedel, a former advisor to President Obama, who was apparently briefed on bin Laden's documents or shown them.
None of the documents pertaining to Osama bin Laden's reported role in the Mumbai attacks were released today. Yet, these documents may have a direct bearing on bin Laden's relationships with various elements of the Pakistani state. 

Second, the Guardian (UK) has reported that the files "show a close working relationship between top al Qaeda leaders and Mullah Omar, the overall commander of the Taliban, including frequent discussions of joint operations against NATO forces in Afghanistan, the Afghan government and targets in Pakistan." One of the Guardian's sources says that the files indicate a "very considerable degree of ideological convergence" between the Taliban and al Qaeda.

These documents were not released either, even though (if the reporting on them is accurate) they could shed important light on the relationship between the Taliban and al Qaeda.

In some cases the documents released by the CTC are not even the complete document, but instead "part" of longer correspondences.

While the 17 documents released today do contain interesting pieces of information, which The Long War Journal will be reporting on, no analyst can draw any firm conclusions about al Qaeda's operations and alliances solely from them. The documents must be compared to other available information and, more importantly, to other documents from Osama bin Laden's extensive files that have not been released.

[Information contained in BKNT E-mail is considered Attorney-Client and Attorney Work Product privileged, copyrighted and confidential. Views that may be expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of any government, agency, or news organization.]

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