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Former CIA Officer Charged in Iran Case; Calls to Bar Reformists from Vote

07 Jan 2011 00:421 Comment

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THE LEAD

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Former CIA Officer Charged in Leak Probe

Washington Post | Jan 6

A former CIA officer involved in clandestine spying efforts against Iran was arrested Thursday on charges of leaking classified information to a reporter, continuing the Obama administration's unprecedented crackdown on the flow of government secrets to the press.

Jeffrey A. Sterling, 43, of O'Fallon, Mo., was charged with 10 felony counts, including obstruction of justice and unauthorized disclosure of national defense information, according to a federal indictment made public Thursday in the Eastern District of Virginia.

The indictment, returned under seal last month, does not identify the alleged recipient of the classified information. But former U.S. intelligence officials and attorneys familiar with the case said that the unnamed journalist is New York Times reporter James Risen.

The officials said Sterling has long been suspected within the agency of providing extensive information to Risen about CIA efforts to sabotage Iran's nuclear program, material that is believed to have formed the basis for a prominent chapter in Risen's 2006 book, "State of War."

Former CIA Officer Charged with Disclosing Defense Information

CNN | Jan 6

Sterling worked at the CIA from May 1993 to January 2002, the department said. One of his assignments was working on a top secret operational program related to the weapons capabilities of certain countries. His role in that program included working with "a human asset," the department said.

He was fired from his job in 2002, it said, adding that he had filed discrimination complaints against the CIA both before and after he left.

The indictment alleges Sterling stole classified information and orally disclosed the contents to a newspaper reporter who was writing a book.

In a prepared statement, Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer said, "through his alleged actions, Sterling placed at risk our national security and the life of an individual working on a classified mission."

Calls to Bar Iran Reformists from Elections

AP (via Washington Post) | Jan 5

More than a year after the last major opposition protest, Iran's hard-liners are intensifying efforts to eliminate the pro-reform movement from the country's political landscape by demanding their candidates be barred from running in next year's legislative polls.

"Basically, there is no need for the participation of these people in the elections," Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati was quoted as saying in several newspapers. "They've had dreams that won't be materialized. Authorities and people don't trust them at all."

Jannati heads a powerful constitutional watchdog called the Guardian Council that screens candidates. His stance is a strong indication that the hard-line body will disqualify reformists from running in parliamentary elections expected to be held in February 2012. No exact date has been set.

Hossein Shariatmadari, manager of the hard-line daily Kayhan, called [reformist former President Mohammad] Khatami a member of [an] "enemy fifth column," and said the minority reformist lawmakers in parliament are traitors who must be disqualified from running in the next elections.

OTHER NEWS

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Intelligence Ministry Agents Raided Majid Tavakoli's Residence in Shiraz

RAHANA | Jan 6

They confiscated his books, CDs, notes and computer after destroying the equipment.

Ali Tavakoli, his brother, was also summoned to the Intelligence Ministry and released after several hours of interrogation. The authorities treated his family in an offensive manner and destroyed the equipment in the house even though what they did was against the law.

[Majid Tavakoli is currently serving an eight-and-a-half-year sentence for "participating in an illegal gathering," "propaganda against the system," and "insulting officials" in Raja'i Shahr Prison, which is used to incarcerate violent criminals.]

Previously, Majid Tavakoli had been summoned to the Prosecutor's office along with Bahareh Hedayat and Mahdieh Golrou and a new case was filed for them. He was put under severe pressure to take a stance against the Green Movement leaders and to deny the authenticity of the letters [from prison] published under his name.

See also: "Majid Tavakkoli, Imprisoned Student Leader" (Amnesty International) | "Issuance of New Charges against Majid Tavakoli and Bahareh Hedayat" (Freedom Messenger)

DOCUMENTS AND DECLARATIONS

Freedom Pact

Letter by Majid Tavakoli from Prison (lissping) | Sept 15, 2010

More than a hundred years of struggle against despotic regimes has finally taught us, in the drought of knowledge and humanity of the Islamic Republic, resistance and the ability to remain vibrant, alive and creative, in order to put an end to this long, sad story of sterility. The hundred year-long story has taught us that liberty has a price to be paid, risks to be taken. In the continuation of this long road, we are happy to have the student community that we have, ready to embrace danger in order to fulfill its aspirations for liberty. University, to tell the truth, is surely the home of enlightenment and the critical mind. Democracy and human rights have, these days, become our guiding lights, helping us strengthen our efforts for liberty, peace and security worldwide. Our entire hope rests on the shoulders of this new generation, which has always been effective and whose innumerable members herald our final victory.

Our people have made a pact with our students and the university. They have signed a pact for freedom of expression to survive, for joy and happiness to enter each household, for violence to be denounced so decisively that it will never again find any opportunity for expression, for the chains binding opinion and thought to be broken forever... for liberty and democracy and human rights and prosperity to be implemented. Our people have a hard pact and you, the students, have a hard task in front of you. But I know that your determination will prevail and dictatorship, even if it once again channels all its power into violence, will be defeated.

For the generation of 2010, as for my generation, our campuses will be the arena to come together... They [the Iranian regime] want a university that is submitted to their will... In the name of Islam, they have downgraded sciences to mediocrity and substituted submission and resignation to knowledge... But you must remain aware... For you have accepted the title "student" to bear the responsibility, in the harshest of times, to uphold the moral high ground associated with it. You are the inheritors of a high tradition which, despite years and years of repression, has remained alive and vibrant. You are the model for change, bestowed with a critical mind, endowed with the courage to defend criticism, to accept criticism, and to preserve your stronghold of enlightenment.

Seeking knowledge and devoting oneself to informing others and raising their consciousness have seized the people's attention. May your togetherness today be another one of your privileges, of which you will make good use. Although repression in these years may have, from time to time, affected our resolve to advance, yet our faith in remaining together, as the student community, has helped us eradicate our fears and take great steps forward within the student movement. It has been our role to achieve these steps in the best possible way. Our greatness does not lie in being great and taking upon our shoulders great tasks. Our greatness has been to achieve great goals but by taking small steps at a time... The experiences of past generations have continuously emboldened our truth and added splendor to our identity....

You shall know that you will determine your own future and that your values and behavior will determine those of society as a whole. You live in the heart of unfolding events, in the face of uprisings and if you are not afraid, victory will surely be yours. Your resistance will erode despotism... Do not abandon your Green leaders. Do not forget your political prisoners and their families... If you all remain together, victory will be yours....

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1 Comment

"...extensive information...about CIA efforts to sabotage Iran's nuclear program..."

Anything to advance the aims of the "Bilderberg Group."


Ekbatana / January 7, 2011 4:22 AM