Langley’s Targeted Assassinations of Iranian Scientists

Hey all,

There’s another great article, this time at CFR, from Micah Zenko, entitled “Iranian Scientists and U.S. Targeted Killings“. I am glad that someone has the courage to bring this into the public sphere, where it needs to be discussed. Here is my reply:

Hey, thank you for bringing this into the public square,

“The statements of denial from the Obama administration were atypically emphatic. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton responded: “I want to categorically deny any United States involvement in any kind of act of violence inside Iran.” Tommy Vietor, spokesperson of the National Security Council, said, “The United States had absolutely nothing to do with this.”

I first thought the accusation against Iran regarding the conspiracy to assassinate a Saudi official in the States was more Langley games. But this behavior by USG could indicate that it was in fact genuine; since they would need to distance themselves now from this kind of obviously “rogue” behavior if they want to hold Iran accountable for the same thing. Whatever the case, an interesting outlier.

“State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley did not directly address the incident: “All I can say is we decry acts of terrorism wherever they occur and beyond that, we do not have any information on what happened.”

For an enterprising journalist this could make a career sometime in the not too distant future if it is found that USG was involved. USG would be calling itself a terrorist. Priceless. Of course, if they do the usually disingenuous thing of farming it out to “allies” (which makes absolutely no ethical difference) then our allies get appellations of gross defamation, which won’t go over well either. I don’t mean to be too critical, but USG is not working favor to its own credibility and political capital with the rest of the world by doing this kind of stuff; if in fact they are involved. I would recommend that this kind of activity be reconsidered, at least on those grounds.

“We know that the United States has somewhere between four and seven kill lists; kill lists are not coordinated; and U.S. citizens— possibly including children—can be targeted, thus denying their Fifth Amendment due process protections.”

I would not want to point fingers or blame here, because the problem at hand is deserving of a nobler, and generally more applicable, response. This is just one of the many things on a long list of grievances against USG that proves my point about the lack of durability of neo-liberal western “democracy”, as formulated today.  A broader, very public and transparent discussion of governance generally, and how we can calm the global anarchy going on right now, is timely, imo.

– kk

1 comment
  1. archaeopteryx1 said:

    I rarely comment on topics not relating to religion, as that’s the sole purpose for which my avatar was created, but in this instance, I’ll make an exception.

    While there’s no doubt in my mind that the USG is capable of carrying out such assassinations, I would not be too hasty to count out Israel’s Sayeret Mat’kal, independent of, and certainly without asking permission of, the USG. Israel, a well-publicized target of the ego-maniac, Ahmadinejad, has a far greater concern, and subsequent sense of urgency, than the USG for attempting to slow and/or halt Iran’s progress in the nuclear weapons field.

    I also must admit to having mixed feelings about such targeted assassinations. Islamic terrorists (and no, I do not associate Islamics with terrorism, but concede that there are, in fact, Islamic terrorists) have had no compunctions about using assassinations of police officers, police command stations, police training centers, and unfavorable politicians for assassinations. While most of us believe that the USG should hold itself to a higher standard than that of the common terrorist, I find that I also must consider the thousands of young American lives that have been lost in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as thousands upon thousands of Iraqi and Afghan lives. We both know that the Iranian conflict began with a Bush lie, and that he is now directly responsible for more American deaths than Osama bin Laden, while bin Laden is dead and “W” lives in luxury in an exclusive Dallas suburb, still, I must assume, communicating directly with god.

    Would it have been so terrible, when such incredible loss of life is considered, if instead of invasion, responsible for all of that loss, covert ops had been performed to surgically eliminate those responsible, or those shielding those responsible for 9/11?

    I don’t normally carry answers in my briefcase to a discussion, I generally load only questions and hope those participating will provide their own answers. My question in this instance would be, “Is it more ethical, given only the two options, to take the high moral ground and forgo specific, covert assassinations in favor of all-out invasion that results in the deaths of thousands and the maiming of untold thousands more, or by lowering our own standards to those of our opponents, sanction the assassination of a few, while allowing thousands of humans to continue to live who otherwise would have died horrible deaths?”

    Again, I left the answers in my other pants; the questions are all I brought with me.

    pax vobiscum,

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