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back to article Iranian cyberwar chief shot dead. Revolutionary Guard: Assassination? Don't 'speculate'

The chief of Iranian cyber-security has been shot dead, sparking rumours that he was murdered in a targeted assassination. The body of Mojtaba Ahmadi, commander of the Cyber War Headquarters, was found in isolated woodland near a town called Karaj, which is north-west of Tehran. He had been shot twice through the heart. Despite …

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"Any assassination could be seriously damaging to this nascent diplomacy"

Which could be most convenient for those Iranian leaders who oppose any diplomacy. Rather convenient that it involves a relatively high profile victim, yet an area which isn't really seen as a cornerstone of Iranian defence or offence.

Given the Machiavellian scheming that passes for government in Iran (or much of the rest of the Middle East) this has to be one of the more likely explanations?

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Re: "Any assassination could be seriously damaging to this nascent diplomacy"

I'd be more inclined to believe he said the wrong thing or spoke to the wrong people, perhaps in a hushed whisper, as the reason for it to have been an internally sanctioned hit. It's much easier on resources to blow up a fake high value target and blame it on the West if they were just looking for a pretext to kneecap diplomatic efforts.

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Re: "Any assassination could be seriously damaging to this nascent diplomacy"

"I'd be more inclined to believe he said the wrong thing or spoke to the wrong people, perhaps in a hushed whisper,"

Maybe, but this is Iran, where making people disappear isn't a problem for the authorities, so if they just wanted him dead there'd be no need for it to make the newspaper. The people around him would know he'd been "disappeared" so the deterrent effect is still there.

With their control of the press they could have hushed this up even it were a foreign act, so the authorities wanted this to be public knowledge, and that implies they want the population to believe somebody is attacking them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Any assassination could be seriously damaging to this nascent diplomacy"

No, it has to be the US. We like guns and we like killing people with them. In fact, we like shooting people so much that we do it to each other.

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Re: "Any assassination could be seriously damaging to this nascent diplomacy"

"No, it has to be the US. We like guns and we like killing people with them. In fact, we like shooting people so much that we do it to each other."

True enough, we do. I have an M1911A1 sitting two feet from me.

In a locked safe.

With the keys inconveniently far away from me, as I so rarely go into that safe.

Seriously though, let's review some facts.

He was found in a remote wooded area. Shot twice in the chest.

OK, so he went along with or met his killer in the woods.

Yeah, a US assassin would arrange an appointment in the woods with him. Yep!

Israeli methods also don't quite match.

Sorry, folks, the situation and method suggests something domestic to Iran. Either a power struggle or more likely, a personal matter that a meeting was privately arranged for in the woods to settle.

Only, not in the manner the man expected.

Because, Iran is loaded with Iranians. Iranians are human, just like the lot of us. Every one of our nations has plenty of people who commit murder for a bewildering number of reasons.

No clue why. I'd not shoot an armed intruder here.

Since that safe is small, I'd hit him over the head with it.

Then, greet him more politely with a swordstick in one hand and my old bayonet from the Army in the other, standing on his gun.

Assuming that foot long safe didn't leave him with a depressed skull fracture.

But, I'm a professionally trained, retired US Army SF medic. I'll happily call 911 for him.

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Re: "Any assassination could be seriously damaging to this nascent diplomacy"

"Which could be most convenient for those Iranian leaders who oppose any diplomacy."

It would be equally convenient for the more hawkish types in Washington and Jerusalem. So there's that. Machiavelliean scheming is not limited to the ME, in case you hadn't noticed.

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Re: "Any assassination could be seriously damaging to this nascent diplomacy"

"It would be equally convenient for the more hawkish types in Washington and Jerusalem. So there's that. Machiavelliean scheming is not limited to the ME, in case you hadn't noticed."

You're right on that. But the previous assassinations which we can surmise are foreign planned had a purpose in themselves, and usually involved a degree of public open space. Shooting some near-nobody in the woods is a bit pointless when if you want to stir things up you could continue popping at their nuclear scientists, or waste some minor politician or senior government administrator. Look at how the Taliban destabilise Afghanistan by rubbing out district governors, their deputies, judges, or moderate tribal leaders.

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After the Syrian pratfall... plan B!

Yeah... sounds like Israel quickly wants to make sure peace doesn't break out. That would be politically damaging to the little gnomic fascist in charge.

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Anonymous Coward

@Destroy All Monsters

"Yeah... sounds like Israel quickly wants to make sure peace doesn't break out. That would be politically damaging to the little gnomic fascist in charge."

Did you read the whole article? Including this part?

"Iran and the US are engaged in new diplomatic efforts aimed at ending sanctions and stopping Iran from developing a nuclear bomb. Any assassination could be seriously damaging to this nascent diplomacy."

So your opinion is that Israel does not want to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons? I mean, I understand that you don't like Jews and that you don't think that Iran is even developing nuclear weapons, but do you realize how stupid your comment is?

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Re: @Destroy All Monsters

There are surely those in Israel who would prefer attack to diplomacy. Not saying they're responsible, the same could be said for some in the US, as well as the hard liners in Iran (who don't prefer attack, obviously, but don't want diplomacy) Or it might have absolutely nothing to do with that, and be purely internal politics.

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Re: @Destroy All Monsters

You said something against Israel, a state that is based on the racial supremacy of a particular race.

That means you're an anti Semite, a Nazi and probably a paedophile too.

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Re: After the Syrian pratfall... plan B!

"Yeah... sounds like Israel quickly wants to make sure peace doesn't break out."

So, let me get this straight.

The Mossad called him to meet them in the middle of the woods, in a remote area at that.

They then had him pose for the shots, two to the chest.

How cooperative of him! Usually, only people one knows could convince one to meet in remote woods and get close enough to shoot you twice in the chest!

I'll not even go into Iranian nuclear weapons beyond mentioning that if they *really* were developing the damned things, they should have at a minimum, a dozen. Being generous after that centrifuge "accident".

Sorry, but it looks more like a personal dispute that went south when he was attempting to resolve it.

*Or* he cooperated with his murderer in his own murder.

But, what would *I* know? I only prepared briefings for CENTCOM on Iranian progress, capabilities and current defense/offense posture.

You obviously have gleaned more wisdom than I, based exclusively upon your superior experience acquired on your twinkie encrusted sofa.

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Re: @Destroy All Monsters

"...and that you don't think that Iran is even developing nuclear weapons..."

I've prepared many intelligence briefs on Iran while I was in the region. Some Bush guy was CIC at the time, briefly replaced by some Obama chap when I redeployed home in my retirement.

If Iran wanted nuclear weapons, they should have at a minimum, a dozen. That is a pessimistic outlook, considering the entire operation there utterly incompetent to get that low a number.

A more realistic estimate would be a minimum of 36, maximum of 150 nuclear warheads.

Of course, a more accurate and probably number of fully capable nuclear devices is classified.

The above is an estimate based upon open source information and not other information I've reviewed, as you have no clearance for such information.

The reality is, if Iran wanted nuclear weapons, they'd have enough to vaporize any nation's leadership near them, along with most of its populace.

There is no sign of turnkey capacity.

Only enrichment, which also was used in nuclear power generation on the bleeding edge, such as a couple of highly experimental pebble bed designs.

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Re: @Destroy All Monsters

There are those in every nation that espouse military action to diplomacy.

The strange thing is how few military types espouse military action compared to lifelong civilians.

That said, this one reads, if one can trust the sparse information provided, as more of a personal matter.

He met someone in the woods in a remote area and was shot dead.

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Unhappy

Quick!!

Tell Mossad that Carl Icahn is a nuclear scientist! Wait... even they won't fall for that one... Damn.

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Re: Quick!!

"Tell Mossad that Carl Icahn is a nuclear scientist!"

Don't be silly.

Call the Mossad and tell them that George Bush the lesser, Cruz and Boehner are all top nuclear scientists for Iran, it's all a false flag to arm Iran and divorce Israel.

A handful of cherry picked tidbits would make the claim far more credible than the yellowcake idiocy.

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Black Helicopters

Re: Quick!!

Not far from being true, no one did more for Iran than Cheney, who could be a persian mole.

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terrorism, not war

"it will mark the beginning of a new front in the clandestine war against the Islamic Republic."

That's what it would be called if the head of GCHQ was murdered by foreign agents.

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Re: terrorism, not war

The clandestine war has been going on for a while, and in both directions. It's not like Iran is an innocent babe in the woods here - they've been attacking random Jews worldwide for decades:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AMIA_bombing

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Re: terrorism, not war

"That's what it would be called if the head of GCHQ was murdered by foreign agents."

No I think the unofficial protocol on shadow war says that bumping off your own or other people's spooks is quite legitimate at any time. Killing politicians, civilians, or even soliders in peacetime, that's terrorism.

Luckily the spooks have all those glamourous women and Aston Martins to offset the job insecurity.

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Unhappy

Re: terrorism, not war

" "it will mark the beginning of a new front in the clandestine war against the Islamic Republic."

That's what it would be called if the head of GCHQ was murdered by foreign agents. "

Bugger me! Didn't know the UK was an Islamic Republic already. Did it happen while I was having my post lunch siesta?

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Re: terrorism, not war

[Citation needed for killing random Jews Worldwide]

While Iran is not a do-gooder country (but still stays seriously below the rap sheet of "The West" in all respects, a fact for which quite a lot of our "leaders" should spend their lives in a supermax), the AMIA bombing has all the clarity of the finding that "Iran was working with Al Qaeda towards 9/11", i.e. something served up in fast food fashion for boobus americanus and his siblings. WIth mayonnaise on top.

Indictment of Iran for ’94 Terror Bombing Relied on MEK

Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman based his 2006 warrant for the arrest of top Iranian officials in the bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires in 1994 on the claims of representatives of the armed Iranian opposition Mujahedin E Khalq (MEK), the full text of the document reveals.

The central piece of evidence cited in Nisman’s original 900-page arrest warrant against seven senior Iranian leaders is an alleged Aug. 14, 1993 meeting of top Iranian leaders, including both Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and then president Hashemi Rafsanjani, at which Nisman claims the official decision was made to go ahead with the planning of the bombing of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA).

But the document, recently available in English for the first time, shows that his only sources for the claim were representatives of the MEK or People’s Mujahideen of Iran. The MEK has an unsavory history of terrorist bombings against civilian targets in Iran, as well as of serving as an Iraq-based mercenary army for Saddam Hussein’s forces during the Iran-Iraq War.

And also

Argentine Report Casts Doubt on Iran Role in '94 Bomb

Less than three weeks after that Iranian bid for negotiations, on March 17, 2002, a bomb blast destroyed the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, killing 26 people. Argentina, the United States, and Israel have long maintained that Iran was responsible for both that bombing and the 1994 bombing of the AMIA headquarters.

But it seems unlikely that Iranian leaders would have ordered or knowingly supported any terror bombing in Buenos Aires just when they were concerned with nailing down an agreement to protect Iran's important interests in relations with Argentina.

The report goes on to present new information that also appears to rule out an Iranian role in the 1994 AMIA bombing. It confirms that Menem canceled the second and third nuclear technology contracts with Iran but not the first contract involving the low-enriched uranium.

etc. etc.

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Re: terrorism, not war

You're right, the Iranian regime are no innocents, possibly because of 60 years of violent external interference in their national affairs.

A British coup in the 50's gave them the Shah, back in the days when BP was called Anglo-Iranian Oil, and since the Shah was deposed external attacks have kept the Theocracy in power. Nothing works quite like an external enemy for rallying the populace to the ruling regime.

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Re: terrorism, not war

War is just terrorism with a bigger budget

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Re: terrorism, not war

Certainly if your country is attacked and you defend it you are not a terrorist. Oh well ..

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Re: terrorism, not war

If you'd been reading the Daily Mail, you'd have known that the country's been moving in that direction for the past decade. Duh.

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Re: terrorism, not war

To Iran's (mostly failed) attempts at terror attacks abroad, one should add the significantly more successful attacks carried out by its proxy force Hizbollah.

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Re: terrorism, not war

"No I think the unofficial protocol on shadow war says that bumping off your own or other people's spooks is quite legitimate at any time."

Not quite. Knocking off a spook in the spook's homeland is taboo. That potentially and quite likely opens the door to a full scale spy war deal.

Then, who'd keep everyone honest?

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Re: terrorism, not war

"Bugger me! Didn't know the UK was an Islamic Republic already. Did it happen while I was having my post lunch siesta?"

To judge by the number of mosques?

Yep!

Just like Turkey. ;)

Next up: Making it a major crime to insult Britishness. ;P

Oops, too late. Blood pudding already exists.

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Re: terrorism, not war

"...and since the Shah was deposed external attacks have kept the Theocracy in power."

Erm, I can only think of three half-assed attacks. *Far* less than on Castro.

Ike took care of his war buddies.

Then, incorporated it into national policy.

But, remember, Obama came *just* short of apologizing for Operation Ajax when speaking in Egypt.

And the GOP went apeshit over it.

Want to know the facts on the Iranian populace?

They don't give a tinkers damn about US-Iran politics. They just want to do the go to work, come home, eat a few times a day at least, play with the kids, go to bed, rinse and repeat.

You have to go to their zealot paramilitary forces to find someone brainwashed enough to care about the inanity.

And I and my wife were in quite a few Iranian expat homes, meeting with parents fresh off the airplane.

They were shocked that this US citizen happily ate the raw garlic and onion appetizer.

They somewhat understood when I mentioned that my paternal grandparents were Sicilian. ;)

OK, I just happen to *love* garlic. First experience eating it raw, couldn't stop myself.

But then, the only dish I dislike in the GCC region is okra. Can't get past the slimy texture, the taste is quite good in two dishes I did try (I always try the dish, rather than insult the cook, as I don't want to be insulted that way when I cook).

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Re: terrorism, not war

Well, that most certainly applies to the UK.

Example, firebombings on civilian areas in Dresden and Hamburg....

The US with Tokyo...

So, if war is terrorism, explain something to me.

If someone were to break in your door, rape your mother, sister and wife before your eyes, when do you become a "terrorist"?

I'd take the bastard out as he came in through the broken door.

Meanwhile, I was a terrorist, by your daffynition, after 9-11, when my cousin was ground into dust on the 84th floor of the south tower.

I most certainly terrorized the chow line when in the rear.

I most certainly terrorized terrorists.

Didn't terrorize anyone else, save a few Privates who were lagging.

Bloody, damned idiot.

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Re: terrorism, not war

"If you'd been reading the Daily Mail, you'd have known that the country's been moving in that direction for the past decade. Duh."

So, the US was moving in the direction of war with Afghanistan for the past decade?

Kindly explain how not a single US citizen I know of and I'm born, raised and live here, know whereinhell Afghanistan is?

Now, for Iraq, I have to plea guilty.

"He tried to kill my dad"dy.

Thank sanity that we have a two man rule for nukes!

Pity it isn't a ten man rule.

Better yet, get rid of the lot of them.

Want a deterrent, build a cobalt device, plant it at home. Get nuked enough, blow it and erase the idiot and the rest of humanity.

But then, I don't consider humanity especially good for the planet overall.

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Re: terrorism, not war

To the best of anyone's knowledge, Hezbollah is a strictly Lebanese group, though with allies in Syria and Iran - and now, thanks to Dubbya, Iraq as well. I know of no bombings or any other attacks they carried out outside this strictly limited region. They started out as the Southern Lebanese Shia response to Israel's invasion in 1982 - that the US labels them terrorists should come as no surprise - they'd label Paul Revere a terrorist today, based on the same patterns of behaviour. And of course, Israel labels them terrorists because they acted much like Irgun and the like in Mandatory Palestine, and the Israel government hates it when Arabs succeed in beating them.

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Re: Okra

Breaded and fried, okra is pretty damn good.

All in the preparation, my friend, all in the preparation

:)

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Re: terrorism, not war

> Hezbollah is a strictly Lebanese group, though with allies in Syria and Iran

No, it is a proxy, a puppet, of Iran. Iran supplies it and uses it (and the iranian "dirty tricks" organization the Al Quds Force) for operations abroad. Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei personally gave Hezballah the order to assassinate lebanese prime-minister Hariri, and also gave the order to Hezbollah to go into Syria and support Assad. It was also Iran who ordered Hezbollah to carry out terror attacks against israeli targets, such as the bombing of a tourist bus in Bulgaria in 2012.

Hezbollah are labelled terrorists because they routinely carry out terror attacks, both in Lebanon and abroad.

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Shot through the heart!

And you're to blame!

Darling, you give loooove,

a bad name.

Too early?

Sorry.

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Anonymous Coward

in order to cripple ..

Sure, because this lone individual is the Iranian "Cyberwarfare" department.. hmmm

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Friends

This is a positive sign that US/Iranian relations are improving. Since the US has used up all its friends and is now making nice with Tehran this is just an overture of friendship and proof that the US is serious about making this work. We only interfere in the internal affairs of our real friends.

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Re: Friends

After what Putin did to 'Babe in the Woods' Obama over Syria - I have zero confidence US foreign policy - community organizer vs. ex-KGB = no contest.

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Re: Friends

>After what Putin did to 'Babe in the Woods' Obama over Syria - I have zero confidence US foreign policy - community organizer vs. ex-KGB = no contest.

What a horrible foreign policy mess, playing Cold War with Russia in public, but having long worked this one out behind closed doors to wit:

Obama to Medvedev: “After my election, I have more flexibility.”

Medvedev to Obama: “I understand, I will transmit this information to Vladimir.”

This was about much more than missile defense - that was always a sham for the local media so as to keep up public support.

If anyone believes that Russia had intentions to be Syria's 'buddy' for any reason other than to save face (note how quickly they bailed at the appointed time), they are well fooled. Syria has long been unable to pay Russia for military equipment on order. You do the math on how worthwhile keeping that relationship is.

Russia has one major geopolitical interest in that general area, and that is preventing pipelines being built from the Caucasus to Europe, other than that they have a similar issue with terrorism as the west.

Quite frankly, I think that there was no plan to attack Syria other than whatever general plans are in force for backup reasons. The whole thing stinks of a clever set-up. Everyone gets what they want, Assad stays to fight on, Russia gets to be a world power, US gets to not be the good/bad/[whatever descriptor you want] guy every last time, Britain gets to seem sage to make up for the WMD thing, and France gets to act tough for the first time in a while.

To me it seems the people in charge in the big countries 'involved' are more interested in using these incidents to keep their control in their own country than any world-stage dick waving.

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Where were these guys

When Spamford Wallace was terrorizing the internets? He's the real mastermind.

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Turn him off and on again ?

Maybe he got stuck and they were just trying to fix him

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Coat

Obviously

Obviously a suicide.

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Anonymous Coward

First rule

It's not terrorism when we do it.

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Stuxnet

Someone's got to take the fall.

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"The body of Mojtaba Ahmadi, commander of the Cyber War Headquarters, was found in isolated woodland near a town called Karaj, which is north-west of Tehran. He had been shot twice through the heart."

shit just like david kelly

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Yeah, two shots to the chest are just like OD'ing on painkillers and slitting your wrist.

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"The modus operandi is similar"

1) Motorcycle assassin attaches limpet mine to car door, killing scientist working on Iran's nuclear weapons programme.

2) Iranian cyberwarrior is found in a wood, shot twice in the chest.

How, exactly, is the MO similar?

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An internal affair is not to be excluded

Current diplomatic moves by Rouhani are not well accepted by all the branches of the Iranian Powers. Pasdarans for instance are really infuriated by his attempts to discuss with the US. Destabilization and counter-moves will occur or are already occuring.

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Re: An internal affair is not to be excluded

Rouhani has no power, who cares what a figurehead says?

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