Wednesday, April 14, 2021. An item in the news cycle means we walk through the possibilites.
What did or didn't happen in Iraq? That's a news cycle any day but especially today due to claims regarding an alleged Israeli base in Iraq.
A facility affiliated with the Israeli regime’s Mossad spy agency had been attacked by "unknown resistance forces" in the north of the country killing, Iraq's Sabereen News quoted sources late on Tuesday.
The Iraqi media said the attack resulted in the death and injury of a “number of Israeli forces,” dealing a “heavy blow” to the regime and its spy agency, Press TV reported.
The sources did not provide further details on the location of the attack and the extent of damage, however, Sabereen said, “Tomorrow, we’ll share some pictures of the operation.”
Israel’s Mossad has long operated in nearby Iraq, including in a 1966 operation to steal a Soviet-built MiG-21 fighter jet for the United States and a plot in the 1970s to assassinate Iraqi nationalist leader Saddam Hussein with a bomb hidden inside a book.
According to unconfirmed reports, a safe house used by the Mossad, Israel’s spy agency, has been attacked in northern Iraq.
"’Unknown resistance forces’ target Mossad safe house in Northern Iraq,” Sabereen News Telegram reported Wednesday morning, adding that several “Israeli spies were killed” and promising to soon share photos of the operation.
The report did not say the city where the safe house was located, and only identified its source as an announcement from “a security source.”
Iraq's ABNA states:
Iraq's Sabereen News, citing security sources, reported late on Tuesday that a facility affiliated with Israel’s Mossad spy agency had been attacked by "unknown resistance forces" in the north of the country.
The Iraqi media said the attack resulted in the death and injury of a “number of Israeli forces,” dealing a “heavy blow” to the regime and its spy agency.
The sources fell short of providing details on the location of the attack and the extent of damage, however, Sabereen said, “Tomorrow, we’ll share some pictures of the operation.”
Reacting to the incident, a high-ranking Iraqi military commander said in an interview with Russian TV network RT that they had not so far received any news about the attack.
Media outlets in northern Iraq have yet to comment on the attack.
The incident came hours after an Israeli ship was attacked in the Emirati port of Fujairah, causing damage but no casualties.
Israel’s Channel 12 quoted unnamed regime officials as blaming Iran for the ship attack.
The vessel, called the Hyperion and sailing under the Bahamas flag, was associated with the Israeli Ray Shipping company, the same company that owns a vessel hit by an explosion in the Sea of Oman in February.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hastily accused at the time Iran of attacking the ship, with Iran categorically rejecting the charge.
Israeli media said the Tuesday’s attack on Hyperion was likely carried out with either a missile or a drone.
Iran’s Fars News on Tuesday cited Iraqi sources that reported an attack on the “intelligence and special operations center of the Zionist regime (Mossad) in northern Iraq (حمله به مرکز جاسوسی موساد رژیم صهیونیستی در شمال عراق)”
Saberin News and Al-Alam Al-Maqawam Center reported on Tuesday night, quoting a security source, that an unidentified group had attacked the Mossad-owned center, killing or wounding several “Israeli forces.”
Sources in northern Iraq have denied claims by Iranian Press TV that there was an attack on “Mossad agents.” Earlier in the evening, outlets in Iraq and those linked to Iran, including Press TV, reported that “Israel’s Mossad spy agency has come under attack in Iraq.” The report was based on a claim in Sabereen News.
Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Spokesperson Jotiar Adil on Wednesday (April 14) strongly denied a report from a media outlet affiliated with the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) regarding an attack on an alleged Mossad installation in the Kurdistan Region.
“A number of local media outlets have falsely reported that an Israeli intelligence agency base had been targeted in the Kurdistan Region, leading to the death and injury of some of its employees,” Adil said in a statement.
“We hereby affirm, as we have several times in the past, that this is far from true and that there is no Israeli intelligence agency present in the Kurdistan Region,” he added.
The report from Sabereen News was picked up by a number of Iranian outlets, while the Israeli press cast doubt on its veracity.
The Kurdistan Regional Government released an official statement Wednesday denying reports in pro-Iranian media that “unknown forces” had attacked a Mossad facility and killed Israelis in northern Iraq.
“We can confirm that news reports about an attack on an Israeli intelligence facility in the region are false,” the KRG statement said.
So what did or did not happen?
At this point, it's really not clear.
The attack, without details, does seem a little out there and a bit of wish fulfilment for those who don't care for the Israeli government (and//or the illegal occupation of Palestinian lands). Is it possible? It's very possible.
Many spy agencies are in Iraq. Besides the base the CIA has in Turkey on the edge of Iraq -- a deal Bully Boy Bush made with the government of Turkey many years ago -- the CIA remains on the ground in Iraq. The CIA is a US spy agency (not the only one). At one point, after the drawdown, the CIA's presence on the ground in Iraq was greater than the US' military presence. The UK's MI6 remains active in Iraq -- this despite the disaster they had during the second term of Bully Boy Bush when they got caught -- with one of them getting arrested -- posing as Iraqis in order to carry out attacks that would then create tensions and outrage. (The response from the UK to this? Deny -- oh, and attack the facility that was holding the MI6 agent.) The Israeli spy agency is the Mossad. It is very likely that they spy in Iraq -- it's a given in fact. Do they do so via outsourcing? Very likely but they also have agents on the ground.
Do they have a base?
When they say a base was attacked, we're picturing a big facility. It could be more like a cut-out and most likely would be. Something that three to five people would be in and out, not like a military base. Again, that's very likely.
If the Mossad was to set up a base in Iraq, the Kurdistan Region would be the best place for it because they could depend upon the most support in that region. The Kurdish Regional Government and the Israeli government have strong ties. (Israel was one of the few nations not to condem the non-binding referendum that the KRG held on autonomy.)
So is an attack possible?
But I'd be more concerned, if I was playing this out all the way, that, in fact, there was a base -- a cut-out facility -- and there was no attack. Why? Israel is now on record denying the attack, as is the KRG, how embarrassing if, days after this was denied, an attack was carried out allowing those in the region hostile to the government of Israel to say, "See, they lie. They lie all the time."
Another potential concern?
This could be a smoke-them-out move. Meaning that the Iranian government -- and their spy agencies -- might think they know where the cut-out roughly is and may have initated claims and rumors to watch the area for movement to pinpoint the actual location.
And, then again, it might be there was no attack at all, it was a rumor that was accidentally started and spread quickly because it feeds into so much that is already known about the way spy agencies work and into the conflict that the government of Israel has with so many of their neighbors in the Middle East.
Changing topics, a friend at the Center for Constitutional Rights asked me to note this press release:
Emergency Motion Says Ashley Diamond’s Allegations of Assault Prompted Retaliation by Prison Staff
April 9, 2021, Atlanta – Today, Ashley Diamond, a Black transgender woman who is currently suing the Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC), asked a federal judge for an emergency order to protect her health and safety while in GDC custody. Since her re-incarceration in connection with a technical parole violation in October 2019, Ms. Diamond has been sexually assaulted and abused 16 times, including three times at the hands of GDC staff. She has also been denied life-saving gender-dysphoria care. Among other requests for relief, Ms. Diamond seeks a transfer to a women’s prison, where she will be safer. Ms. Diamond gained national recognition for her groundbreaking lawsuit against GDC six years ago. Rather than help her, in response to her efforts to be protected from sexual assault and receive adequate medical care for her gender dysphoria over the last year and a half, GDC has retaliated against her.
“The message Georgia is sending trans people in custody is that our lives and existences simply do not matter,” said Ms. Diamond. “But I know better. Georgia’s actions toward me and other trans prisoners are a systemic abuse of power, authority, and moral decency.”
Shortly after Ms. Diamond filed a complaint under the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) implicating wardens for their failure to fulfill their duties and protect her in several sexual assaults against her at Coastal State Prison, the facility where she is currently held, GDC officials initiated what attorneys call a “smear campaign aimed at frustrating Ms. Diamond’s legal advocacy, punishing her for her lawsuit, and diminishing her chances of early release” on parole by papering her with rule violations and disciplinary infractions that were either plainly false, manufactured, or based on minutiae not enforced against others.
GDC went so far as to pressure another incarcerated person to lie about Ms. Diamond and accuse her of sexual assault; when he refused, he was held in prolonged solitary confinement and then transferred to a housing unit widely considered more violent than the one where he had been. Ms. Diamond’s records have also been altered to make her less safe and to manufacture a reason GDC can use to defend their failure to protect her by changing her security designation from victim to perpetrator. The effects of this intentional campaign of retaliation not only expose her to being placed among other incarcerated people who may pose a grave threat to her, but have hurt Ms. Diamond’s parole eligibility, postponing it from March 2021 until April 2022.
Attorneys say an emergency court order is absolutely necessary to protect Ms. Diamond’s health and safety and to halt the retaliation against her and others. Ms. Diamond and her attorneys have made numerous attempts to end the daily sexual victimization and get her transferred to a women’s facility. Her attorneys have sent nine notices to GDC officials, attempting to resolve her health and safety issues without resorting to legal action. Not only have those officials not responded to the letters, but they have retaliated against Ms. Diamond. The motion filed today criticizes GDC for its practice of holding transgender women in men’s facilities despite the safety risks — and despite formal, written GDC policies and federal law allowing transgender women to be placed in female facilities.
“It goes without saying that a men’s prison is no place for a woman,” said SPLC Senior Attorney Beth Littrell. “Yet, Georgia insists on keeping Ashley housed in men’s prisons where, as any woman would be, she is exposed to repeated sexual victimization and daily sexual harassment. It’s not only unconstitutional – it’s unconscionable.”
Meanwhile, as recently as last month, Ms. Diamond experienced two more instances of sexual abuse in custody while GDC continues to punish her rather than protect her. GDC has refused to move Ms. Diamond out of the dorm where she has been repeatedly assaulted. She faces daily sexual harassment and frequent sexual victimization. And, despite having taken feminizing hormones to treat her gender dysphoria for more than two decades (except during her last period of incarceration, when her treatment was denied by GDC), she continues to be denied access to gender dysphoria care in accordance with medical standards. The motion filed today details the physical and psychological impact of denying medical care to Ms. Diamond, including repeated suicide and self-castration attempts.
“Ashley Diamond is fighting for her own survival, while also fighting to change a unjust system that discriminates against transgender people and leaves them to perish. Advocacy like this takes tremendous courage. Ashley Diamond is one of the bravest people I know,” said Chinyere Ezie, a senior staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights.
Attorneys say GDC’s actions are especially egregious because Ms. Diamond already sued the Georgia prison system several years ago for the very same mistreatment: placing her in men’s prisons where she was sexually assaulted nearly a dozen times (resulting in a diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and denying her medical care for gender dysphoria, including necessary hormones. The motions filed today ask that GDC take immediate steps to protect Ms. Diamond from physical and sexual violence, transfer her to a women’s facility for the remainder of her time in custody, provide her with medically necessary treatment for gender dysphoria, and protect her and witnesses from further retaliation.
“I know this retaliation is meant to break me. And I confess, at times it’s difficult to remain hopeful,” Ms. Diamond said. “But I refuse to believe there is simply no reward to the risks that I have taken to obtain justice. No one deserves to go through what I have — I will continue to stand up for myself and for my community until we can all be safe and free.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center is a catalyst for racial justice in the South and beyond, working in partnership with communities to dismantle white supremacy, strengthen intersectional movements, and advance the human rights of all people. For more information, visit: www.splcenter.org. “SPLCenter” on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
The Center for Constitutional Rights works with communities under threat to fight for justice and liberation through litigation, advocacy, and strategic communications. Since 1966, the Center for Constitutional Rights has taken on oppressive systems of power, including structural racism, gender oppression, economic inequity, and governmental overreach. Learn more at ccrjustice.org.
The following sites -- plus Rebecca's "the palestinians" -- updated: