Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 11, 2007

Weapon Smuggling: Intelligence vs. Evidence

The U.S. officer said Iran was working through surrogates — mainly "rogue elements" of the Shiite Mahdi Army — to smuggle the EFPs into Iraq. He said most of the components are entering Iraq near Amarah, the Iranian border city of Meran, and the Basra area of southern Iraq.
U.S. officer: Iran sends Iraq bomb parts, Feb. 11, 2007


"I suspect there's nothing out there," the commander, Lt. Col. David Labouchere, said last month, speaking at an overnight camp near the border. "And I intend to prove it."

Other senior British military leaders spoke as explicitly in interviews over the previous two months. Britain, whose forces have had responsibility for security in southeastern Iraq since the war began, has found nothing to support the Americans' contention that Iran is providing weapons and training in Iraq, several senior military officials said.

"I have not myself seen any evidence -- and I don't think any evidence exists -- of government-supported or instigated" armed support on Iran's part in Iraq, British Defense Secretary Des Browne said in an interview in Baghdad in late August.

"It's a question of intelligence versus evidence," Labouchere's commander, Brig. James Everard of Britain's 20th Armored Brigade, said last month at his base in the southern region's capital, Basra. "One hears word of mouth, but one has to see it with one's own eyes. These are serious consequences, aren't they?"
British Find No Evidence Of Arms Traffic From Iran, Oct. 4, 2006

Update: The AFP story is a bit more detailed and cautious than the AP story linked above: Iranian bombs have killed 170 Iraq coalition troops: US

The accusers are anonymous and the evidence was NOT shown to the reporters but handed out as pictures on a CD. Why do this and not show the real stuff? Photoshop anyone?

Three coalition officials met reporters to point the finger at the Al-Qods Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, part of Tehran's elite forces accused of links with foreign militants.
The men spoke on condition of anonymity for their security and cameras and recording devices were barred from the briefing, where an array of mortar shells and booby traps were laid out for inspection.

Reporters were issued with a disc containing photographs of alleged Iranian weapons seized in Iraq -- a Misagh-1 ground-to-air missile, EFPs and mortar shells -- showing manufacturing dates in late 2006.

Posted by b on February 11, 2007 at 15:25 UTC | Permalink


This is just so pathetic it is unbearable. The only hope I have now is that I think the rest of the world has woken up. I don't think they are going to get away with it this time.

Photos on a CD? Unnamed, unattributed sources? No cameras at the briefing? Even the manufacturing dates are totally fishy.

You really really cannot make this $#^#%@% up...

Posted by: Bea | Feb 11 2007 17:46 utc | 1

A real problem for the stage-managers this time around: no one knows how to believe them any more. They'd do best to outsource this job the Chinese?

Posted by: alabama | Feb 11 2007 18:02 utc | 2

I just looked at the picture of the mortar round in the AP story b linked to. this is funny beyond belief! The Iranians are labeling their munitions with the Gregorian calendar even though they use the Jalali calendar, the Jalali date is 22 Bahman 1385

reminds of those old coins found that were dated 250 BC

are they really that stupid?

my guess is yes, they really are.

Posted by: dan of steele | Feb 11 2007 18:45 utc | 3

I'm sure everyone is aware of the reason for this charade, but I want to point it out anyway, this will be used to justify an attack on Iran under the Iraq AUMF.

Posted by: Dick Durata | Feb 11 2007 19:41 utc | 4

I feel like a sleepwalker -- I see it happening and the news, even in Denmark, is la la la -- how can you protest something which hasn't happened and the perps will say, "Well, all options are on the table"?

Posted by: Chuck Cliff | Feb 11 2007 20:17 utc | 5

One would suspect that the real problem for the U.S. is that there is significant Iranian influence in Iraq, but that it is of a non-military (hardware) nature. There is probably all manner of Iranian social/political/economic advisory activity going on that is against U.S. interests. And the U.S. is powerless to do anything to counter it, other than trump up some fake military evidence -- which again will come back to bite them. Meanwhile, the Iranians are doing the unglamorous hearts and minds work to shore up their position amongst the people ala Hezbollah, and will likely win their side of the war without a shot fired.

Posted by: anna missed | Feb 11 2007 20:21 utc | 6

this will be used to justify an attack on Iran under the Iraq AUMF.

what's AUMF?

yeah, i agree this is just postering. it doesn't really matter if the american people believe it, they will do whatever they want regardless. they probably have a timetable all worked out w/a deadline. all the propaganda logistics has been worked out by saic in advance most likely down to the sunday morning pundits weeks if not months in advance.

Posted by: annie | Feb 11 2007 20:24 utc | 7

Authorization for Use of Military Force = AUMF

Posted by: Dick Durata | Feb 11 2007 20:33 utc | 8

thnx dick

Posted by: annie | Feb 11 2007 20:40 utc | 9

Happy Valentine’s Day


Posted by: SomeOtherDude | Feb 11 2007 21:00 utc | 10

Thanks dos #3

At least some of us refuse to play 'the game'... The 'game' you ask?

They are playing a game.

They are playing at not playing a game.

If I show them I see they are, I shall break the rules and they will punish me.

I must play their game, of not seeing I see the game.

~Knots, by R.D. Laing

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Feb 11 2007 21:08 utc | 11

cover of newsweek: Rumors of War

i have to admit i haven't read this. don't know if i have the strength...

the drumbeat.

Posted by: annie | Feb 11 2007 21:36 utc | 12

I think this article hasn't been linked to here before. If it was, my apologies. It offers a very good explanation of how aggression against Iran was a built-in component of the neocons' Iraq strategy from the start:

The U.S. will not leave Iraq without first militarily weakening Iran.
by Siddharth Varadarajan

EVER SINCE the Islamic Revolution of 1979 took Tehran out of Washington's orbit, the United States has run its Iraq policy with one eye firmly planted on Iran.

In the 1980s, the U.S. supported Saddam Hussein's war against Iran and protected him in the United Nations Security Council even after it became clear the Iraqi regime had used chemical weapons. Iraq's August 1990 invasion of Kuwait made Washington much more hostile towards Baghdad but its preferred policy became that of "dual containment" of Iraq and Iran rather than of rapprochement with Tehran.

Though premised on conventional balance of power calculations, dual containment was never intended to be an open-ended policy of eschewing force. Indeed, by the end of the 1990s, Neocon lobbyists had begun pressing for a shift from dual containment to "dual rollback," an ambitious strategy that envisaged the use of both military and non-military pressure to bring about regime change in Iraq and Iran and thereby strengthen U.S. and Israeli interests in the region.

The beauty of dual rollback was that it accepted the logic of dual containment but turned its prescriptions inside out: If attacking Iraq meant strengthening Iran, the Neocon answer was not "dual appeasement" but dual war.

Against this backdrop, the proposed "surge" of U.S. troops in Iraq — which is really a mega-surge involving at least another 50,000 soldiers — is clearly intended to serve an objective additional to the stated one. Yes, the U.S. would like to stop bleeding in Iraq, but it is not going to withdraw without first weakening Iran to the point of rollback.

Posted by: Alamet | Feb 11 2007 22:49 utc | 13

ô how low will this administration go

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Feb 12 2007 0:06 utc | 14

Wuzza matta, annie, you no likie drums...

EVERYBODY HAS TO CLICK THRU LINK @#10. Wish R'Giap were here to write accompanying text, though perhaps it's beyond words.

Posted by: jj | Feb 12 2007 0:09 utc | 15

The US dropped artillery on al-Quaeda types INSIDE Pakistan today.

Perhaps to exercise the AUMF, in preparation for exercising it upon Iran soon?

"Nothing to see here, folks. Our incursions into Syria and Iran are just following the bad guys into their lair."

Posted by: Antifa | Feb 12 2007 0:23 utc | 16

link to Guardian

In case you were wondering, General Caldwell is one of the flaks who's pushing this thing.

Posted by: alabama | Feb 12 2007 1:46 utc | 17

#10 maybe shouldn't be copyright protected. Maybe should be on the front page of every publication in the world.

Posted by: beq | Feb 12 2007 2:03 utc | 18

Dick #4 and annie#7 -

That has to be it. I had been puzzled.

Since the US warmakers have lost credibility everywhere, they surely don't actually expect to persuade anyone about Iranian military intervention on Iraq. So it has to be some legalistic reason for the charade. I have been trying to figure this out, esp. since they appear indifferent to international rules of war. Justification under AUMF sounds right.

Of course, there could, also, be a domestic political reason to point at Iran. It redirects the blame for the disaster in Iraq away from the Deciders, as in: everything would be alright now in Iraq, if Iran had stayed out of it. Is this about holding onto Michelle Malkin and whatever constitutes their base? Because who else would buy that dead horse? But AUMF has to be primary motive.

anna missed#6 - Persuasive analysis of the real threat from Iran.

Though I wouldn't be surprised if some ordinance or other material support is also moving to Iraq from Iran, I would be surprised if it were more signifcant than what is coming through Syria, and from Saudis, and who knows what other sources. In narrowly military terms, the Iranian contribution to the violence in Iraq is probably no greater than that from other sources. But that battle for hearts and minds, which the US never seems to get right, is the bugaboo under the saddle.

Posted by: small coke | Feb 12 2007 2:10 utc | 19

alabama, that link does not work

& yes jj i cannot see how much farther down we can go. the abyss is looking at the abyss & it is looking back. that terrifying photograph @10 tell us in an instant the illussion & reality of agressive wars for both the perpetrators & victims

the premeditated chaos that is our times have become genuinely frightening in a way ideology cannot help except to elucidate the underpinnings & while i am at home & work in theory - its intention - whether in antiquity or in modernity is not as a blindfold to escape the carnage but a microscope with which to examine & change it

i would have thought an american intervention in iran was suicidal for them & still with this feeling of inevitability about it i really cannot imagine, militarily how they could do such a thing

the u s is incapable of understanding how the social fabric of societies do exist - & how they function - especially how they function under duress. perhaps it is simply the case that in the 'developed' world the social fabric has become so much a series of endless circles of disassociation that creates within it complicity & consent of crimes that are so heinous they will in a larger context be seen for what they are - the continuum of the hatred of the other written within the pages of mein kampf

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Feb 12 2007 2:14 utc | 20

alabama -

Link to Guardian not working. Could you check?

Posted by: small coke | Feb 12 2007 2:15 utc | 21

how can you protest something which hasn't happened

There is a guy in my hometown walking around with a sign:


He has been carrying it for at least a year. So I guess the answer is: with perseverance.

Posted by: a swedish kind of death | Feb 12 2007 2:18 utc | 22

Corrected link to Guardian

Posted by: Rick | Feb 12 2007 4:11 utc | 23

as Dan said in 3 - Why are the dates writen in Gregorian calendar style?

Even more curious some pictures from LA Times.

When Iranian Farsi speaker mark the production lot number on ammunition, what do they write?

LOT-1234 of course - or so they want to make us believe ...

Posted by: b | Feb 12 2007 8:35 utc | 24

While that farce is going on, governments both here at "home" and in Israel are fracturing, though arguably not fast enough where it counts.

First, Pat Lang informs us that the rpt. on OSP ginning up pre-war intel wouldn't have been released w/out SecDef Gates approval, indicating that he's dragging his feet on this new proposed maladventure. Conflict developing

Gates is widely quoted as believing that everyone should calm down about Iran, and that the evidence of Iranian intractability has been overstated.

A book of "evidence" of Iranian malfeasance has been prepared for public release as part of the "information operation" (propaganda).  Those who have seen it (including Gates) think it is "weak."

For Gates to "drag his feet" in the midst of "the Year of Iran" (attributed to John Hannah - the VP's Middle East man) is a major problem for the Cheney/Bush Administration's goals in regard to Iran.

It will not be politically possible for Bush to fire Gates.  He will have to live with having chosen him.   How far will the drift toward disagreement over this proceed? 

Now we read in a Haaretz editorial that the conflict is far more advanced in Israel - it's a regular chucklefest over there.

No commission of inquiry is needed in order to realize that the fact that the prime and defense ministers are not speaking to each other is a clear and present danger to national security. This grave situation has continued since the war in Lebanon ended, but the public is not fully aware of its gravity. All the conciliatory statements emanating from both ministers' offices are false, as are the smiles they exchange in front of the cameras. The state is not being governed, and there is no coordination between Ehud Olmert and Amir Peretz on the most vital issues.

Just yesterday, a scandalous letter that Peretz sent to Olmert, which demanded that construction work on the Temple Mount be stopped, was publicized. Instead of this sensitive matter being discussed privately and seriously, things are evidently being done without coordination, and the defense minister simply responds to events.


...The work on the Temple Mount, as well as the operations along the Lebanese border, are both matters with the potential to spark a major conflagration, so it would have been reasonable to assume that the decisions were made knowledgeably and judiciously. But the current Israeli government has neither knowledge nor judgment, only politicians hunkering down within their own camps and among their own cronies, and it seems that grudges and vengeance have become substitutes for a national agenda. A clear and present danger

Last wk., in an art. I can't link since I forgot to clip the URL & can't bring it up on google (Bush vs. Olmert by Aluf Benn in Haaretz) Benn reported that Bu$hCo forbade Israeli negotiations w/Syria.

But Olmert has a problem: Bush is not allowing him to talk to Assad. American officials who are asked about a revival of the Syrian channel respond by reading out the long list of crimes committed by Damascus, including its support for terror from Gaza to Baghdad. If the choice is between pursuing the ideological war against terror and a realistic policy that would preserve Olmert's government, Bush prefers the ideology.

Finally, Gabriel Kolko, in a Must Read article clarifies the war going on between Israeli elites. Most have realized that Am. ME policies are suicidal for Israel, but Olmert insists upon kowtowing to Idiot-in-Chief.

Serious Israeli strategists overwhelmingly believe, to cite Reuven Pedatzur in Ha'aretz last November, that "mutual assured deterrence can be forged, with a high degree of success, between Israel and Iran." Israeli strategic thinking is highly realistic. Early this February a study released at a conference by the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University predicted that Iran would behave rationally with nuclear weapons and "that the elimination of Israel is not considered to be an essential national interest" for it. Iran "will act logically, evaluating the price and risks involved." A preemptive attack on Iran nuclear research sites would "be a strategic mistake," Pedatzur warned the conference, and the use of tactical nuclear weapons against them sheer folly. "Our best option is open nuclear deterrence."

Israeli experts have come to the realization that American policy in the Middle East is not merely an immense failure but also a decisive inhibition to Israel reorienting its foreign policy to confront the realities of the region that the Jews have chosen to live in. The U.S. has ousted the Taliban from Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein from Iraq and created an overwhelming Iranian presence. In Palestine, its campaign for democracy has brought Hamas to power. Troop escalation in Iraq is deemed futile. "It's a total misreading of reality," one Israeli expert is quoted when discussing America's role in the region. Israeli interests are no longer being served. American policies have failed, and Israel has given a carte blanche to a strategy that leaves it more isolated than ever.


But Olmert has explicitly said that the Bush administration opposes a negotiated peace with Syria. Therefore, he is opposed to it also. Olmert's contradiction is that he wants to remain closely allied to the U.S., whatever its policies, yet he is now one of the most unpopular prime ministers in Israel's history and in power only because of Sharon's stroke. Israel is a crucial pillar of American policy in the entire region, but this policy is failing. An alliance with America is Olmert's recipe for political defeat when the inevitable election is called. That is his problem.Three's a Crowd: Israel, Iran, and the Bush Administration

Posted by: jj | Feb 12 2007 9:15 utc | 25

the u s is incapable of understanding how the social fabric of societies do exist...

Yes, exactly. The US technocrats understand society as the physical structures that perform functions within it: roads, bridges, water and sewer plants, power stations, radio and TV stations, hospitals, manufacturing plants, etc. Destroy them and you destory the society itself, so they believe. And they think they can remake society by rebuilding these things once they have gotten what they want from the destruction. But these are things that flesh and blood built, not flesh and blood itself. Their crippled vision of societies is one obtained by looking at them from satellite photos, not actual down to earth living. They can no more feel the functioning humanity within a society than a satellite can track tears. The grotesque, human gargoyle Cheney and his minions are crushing real life to produce an antiseptic re-creation of it that will contain what and how of society - which they will dominate and profit from - but not why. They cannot succeed. Life, which springs from an inside they do not know, will have it's way.

Posted by: | Feb 12 2007 17:07 utc | 26

Story in NYT 2/12 says this about serial numbers on weapons:

The shells had serial numbers in English in order to comply with international standards for arms, the officials said.

Can anyone confirm that there is such a requirement? Is compliance common? Why? How enforced?

Posted by: small coke | Feb 12 2007 17:57 utc | 27

Culture or Cash that is the question.

Posted by: pb | Feb 12 2007 17:58 utc | 28

During the old Cold War, when Soviets and US were both covertly fanning flames of conflicts around the globe, part of the tradecraft of covert weapons supply included disguising the source by supplying arms that could not be easily traced back to the supplier. Thus, US often provided Soviet-made arms and vice versa.

Has this practice of disguise vanished on the winds of the old wars?

Posted by: small coke | Feb 12 2007 17:59 utc | 29

During the old Cold War, when Soviets and US were both covertly fanning flames of conflicts around the globe, part of the tradecraft of covert weapons supply included disguising the source by supplying arms that could not be easily traced back to the supplier. Thus, US often provided Soviet-made arms and vice versa.

Has this practice of disguise vanished on the winds of the old wars?

Posted by: small coke | Feb 12 2007 18:00 utc | 30

Sorry. What happened? Typepad sent comment through the letter-copy process, but I posted only once.

Posted by: small coke | Feb 12 2007 18:06 utc | 31

I think the vast majority of us won't be able to bring ourselves to click on the link in #10 a second time. I sure won't be able to do so. The practiced stoicism on the bride's face does little to mask the deep sorrow given away by her eyes. May the Spirit look after them both. :-(

Posted by: Loveandlight | Feb 12 2007 19:35 utc | 32

@small coke - There is NO international specification for marking ammunition.

During my search for such I did look up the US and UK NATO specification for marking weapons. Both say that the year of production should be in the marking. In some cases the month and year of the filling of the cartridge. No specification talks about the date.

Check these pictures, especially No.2. It says 5-31-06 which is supposed to be the date.

Why would ANY international mark put a date in there and why would the month be before the day? Internationally you either write ddmmyy or yymmdd. Only in America ...

BTW: The briefing was done by the spokesman of the US forces in Iraq, Maj.Gen Caldwell. Why had he to speak anonymously???

Posted by: b | Feb 12 2007 19:54 utc | 33

Now it's getting interesting - Pace (again) doesn't agree with the party line - guess he will be fireed in a few.

Top American General Disputes US Military Claim on Iran"

The top American military officer, General Peter Pace, declined Monday to endorse the conclusions of U.S. military officers in Baghdad, who told reporters on Sunday that the Iranian government is providing high-powered roadside bombs to insurgents in Iraq. General Pace made his comments during a visit to Australia, and VOA's Al Pessin reports from Canberra.
"We know that the explosively formed projectiles are manufactured in Iran. What I would not say is that the Iranian government, per se [specifically], knows about this," he said. "It is clear that Iranians are involved, and it's clear that materials from Iran are involved, but I would not say by what I know that the Iranian government clearly knows or is complicit."

Posted by: b | Feb 12 2007 20:59 utc | 34

Here is the website of Iran's Defense Industries. (Found via the NewsHog)

Guess what?.. They are selling their products across the world like any other legit business. There is even an "order" button at the site. I wouldn't be surprised if the Office of Special Plans or whatever it is calling itself these days bought these shiny new ordnances at the click of a button directly from the source.

Posted by: Alamet | Feb 13 2007 2:02 utc | 35

thanks Alamet, I guess my fevered speculation that the english markings on the munitions was a sign of fraud was way off the mark.

still, a very interesting site. who knew you could find tank shells online?

Posted by: dan of steele | Feb 13 2007 2:29 utc | 36

Pace is again sabotaging the administration:
U.S. general: No evidence Iran is arming Iraqis

JAKARTA, Indonesia - A top U.S. general said Tuesday there was no evidence the Iranian government was supplying Iraqi insurgents with highly lethal roadside bombs, apparently contradicting claims by other U.S. military and administration officials.

Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said U.S. forces hunting down militant networks that produced roadside bombs had arrested Iranians and that some of the material used in the devices were made in Iran.

“That does not translate that the Iranian government per se, for sure, is directly involved in doing this,” Pace told reporters in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta. “What it does say is that things made in Iran are being used in Iraq to kill coalition soldiers.”

Once more and they will kick Pace out and put Casey in there. He is proven to continuesly have lied for the administration.

Posted by: b | Feb 13 2007 18:10 utc | 37

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