Leaked e-mails: Israel, Kurds may have destroyed Iranian facilities
In exchange released by website, worker at Stratfor intelligence firm doubts validity of a source claiming an Israeli ground force had already wiped out Iran's nuclear infrastructure.
Israeli commandos and Kurdish fighters destroyed some Iranian nuclear installations last year, according to a hacked e-mail from a U.S. global intelligence analysis company revealed yesterday by WikiLeaks.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will hold a press conference today in London where he plans to reveal new details about the emails, from U.S. security company Stratfor.
The whistle-blowing website said it had obtained over five million emails generated by the Stratfor headquarters in Texas, from 2004 until the end of 2011. Though the organization does not specify the source of the emails, it has already been published that Stratfor was a target of the Anonymous hackers group.
In one of the emails from November 2011, Stratfor officials discuss the explosion at an Iranian missile base near Tehran and quote a source who "was asked what he thought of reports that the Israelis were preparing a military offensive against Iran. Response: I think this is a diversion. The Israelis already destroyed all the Iranian nuclear infrastructure on the ground weeks ago."
One company analyst responded dismissively to the possibility of an Israeli attack having already taken place, asking: "How and when did the Israelis destroy the 'infra' on the ground?
"Would anyone actually accept that this could let the Europeans forget about the Euro crisis, something they have been experiencing every day for over a year?!" the analyst added, asking: "Do we attribute any credibility to this item at all?"
Some of the Stratfor analysts expressed the opinion that Israel had sent commandos into Iran, perhaps with the assistance of Kurdish fighters or Iranian Jews who had immigrated to Israel, to carry out these operations.
The emails also mention a plan to coerce an Israeli source into updating the firm on the medical condition of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
WikiLeaks also mentions "private intelligence staff who align themselves closely with U.S. government policies and channel tips to the Mossad - including through an information mule in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Yossi Melman, who conspired with Guardian journalist David Leigh to secretly, and in violation of WikiLeaks' contract with the Guardian, move WikiLeaks' U.S. diplomatic cables to Israel."
Melman, who until recently covered intelligence affairs for Haaretz, said in response that, at the time, "I worked for Haaretz and with the approval of my editors obtained the WikiLeaks documents.
"Haaretz published some of them. I am proud of my journalistic achievements, which were praised by my editors and the readers. WikiLeaks' Julian Assange tried to prevent the publication, arguing that the documents belonged to him," he added, saying, "I and my editors rejected his claim and went ahead with the publication.
"Now [Assange] tries to take revenge on me by hinting that I was a channel to the Israeli intelligence community. This is a complete lie. He also, by way of innuendo, tries to create the impression that I was a source for Stratfor. This is another lie. I do not have any control whatsoever about what Stratfor personnel wrote about me in their private in-house correspondence," Melman added.
In November 2010, WikiLeaks published, along with a number of major media organizations, a cache of U.S. State Department diplomatic cables. American intelligence analyst Bradley Manning is being court-martialed for allegedly leaking the cables to WikiLeaks.