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Things that make you go hmmm (UPDATED)

News this morning coming out of Tehran:

A remote-controlled bomb detonated early Tuesday in Tehran, killing a Tehran University professor of nuclear science, Iranian state media reported.

Terror attacks against Iranian officials and targets in remote provinces aren't uncommon. But a bombing in Tehran, the capital, is extremely rare, and the target -- a nuclear scientist -- raised immediate questions over whether the attack was related to Iran's controversial nuclear program.


Authorities said Tuesday that a parked motorbike was booby-trapped with an explosive device, which detonated near the professor's car, close to his home in a north Tehran neighborhood, according to Press TV, the state-run, English-language news agency.

Tehran's prosecutor said the target of the attack, Massoud Ali-Mohammadi, was a Tehran University lecturer, who taught nuclear physics at the school. It wasn't clear if he had any direct role in Iran's nuclear program. State media identified Mr. Ali-Mohammadi as a "staunch supporter" of the Islamic revolution.

Most interesting.

Might The Mossad be sending a message?


UPDATE: These words from Hillary yesterday add to the speculation:

"It is clear that there is a relatively small group of decision- makers inside Iran," she said. "They are in both political and commercial relationships, and if we can create a sanctions track that targets those who actually make the decisions, we think that is a smarter way to do sanctions."

But she added, "All that is yet to be decided upon."

Most interesting indeed.


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Comments (31)

Do I detect a hint of an ap... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Do I detect a hint of an approving note in your question, "Might the Mossad be sending a message?"

I hope not. That would mean you support terrorism, wouldn't it? Or is it not terrorism if the Israelis do it? Can only Muslims be terrorists?

missing from Hillary's quot... (Below threshold)

missing from Hillary's quote:

But she added, "All that is yet to be decided upon ... because there are even fewer decision makers in our cabinet, and the main one is incapable of making a smart decision.

I might have made up some of that.

Bruce brings up a good ques... (Below threshold)

Bruce brings up a good question, actually.

If you had a time machine, would it be morally defensible to go back to, say, 1934, and arrange for a certain German's violent death?

If you arranged to kill him and others in an explosion, would it be terrorism - and therefore completely morally wrong? It could be argued that someone just as malign yet much more competent could have taken his place.

Or, given our experience with history as it occurred, would it be better to ignore the contemporary label and moral quandry and do the deed?

Will the killing of Massoud Ali-Mohammadi hinder the development of nuclear weaponry by IRan - and therefore be a good thing? (For certain values of good, such as not letting some nutter get his mitts on nuclear weapons that can be tossed around indiscrinimately?) Or do we take the moral high ground and both condemn and eschew completely any sort of action like this which could head off problems down the road?

Is it possible for ideology to paralyze you completely when dealing with small numbers of people who may in the future be instrumental in killing millions?

Is it even possible to identify such keystone people with any sort of reliability?

Hmmm. Tough questions, aren't they?

(Shrug.) If it delays Iran getting a hand on nukes for a few months - I'm good with it.Once they get 'em, they're nuts enough currently to use them to force concessions, which might strengthen the hold the mullahs have on the country.

Screw it. He's dead, it's done, cross your fingers and hope for the best. I'd rather seen one man taken out than a city.

Maybe not Mossad, even if h... (Below threshold)
Upset Old Guy:

Maybe not Mossad, even if he did end up splattered all over the front pages (in addition to the sidewalk).

"TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - A nuclear physics professor who publicly backed Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi in the disputed June presidential election was killed Tuesday when a remote-controlled bomb rigged to a motorcycle blew up outside his home."

I see Iran does not like be... (Below threshold)
James H:

I see Iran does not like being the receiving end of terrorist activities.

I see it as an adventure/in... (Below threshold)

I see it as an adventure/intrigue - think "Eiger Sanction" meets "Lawrence of Arabia"...

I for one hypocritically su... (Below threshold)

I for one hypocritically support terrorism against the terrorists in Iran.

Simple rule, work on nuclear weapons for Iran, paint a target on your back.

I hope it was Mossad and I hope the message was recieved loud and clear.

"That would mean you suppor... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

"That would mean you support terrorism, wouldn't it? "
No. It's not terrorism when you hit back.

"Or is it not terrorism if the Israelis do it?"
Not when they hit back against a country that has sworn to annihilate them or support terrorists who constantly attack them.

" Can only Muslims be terrorists?"
No. But in today's world, only about 99% of the terrorists seem to be muslim.

"I hope not. That would ... (Below threshold)

"I hope not. That would mean you support terrorism, wouldn't it? Or is it not terrorism if the Israelis do it? Can only Muslims be terrorists?"

Live by murder and deception, die by any means necessary. Goodbye.

"All that is yet to be deci... (Below threshold)

"All that is yet to be decided upon."

Given the current administration, they'll "study" the problem for the next 3 years and get back to us.

Leave it to the Israeli's to actually do something concrete, unlike The One who has done nothing to prevent the Iranians from developing a nuclear weapon.

Actually, Bruce's question ... (Below threshold)

Actually, Bruce's question was the first thing that popped into my head when Rick mentioned the Mossad. That it might have been an Israeli did not immediately come to mind though. My first thought is that someone within Iran did it. Someone in the resistence there. It is, after all, not the current Israeli style to assassinate in such a fashion. Yes, a long long time ago they engaged in what we now call "terrorism". (We're constantly reminded of it in case we ever forget.) But it IS the prevailing Muslim way.

IF it happened within Iran,... (Below threshold)

IF it happened within Iran, by Iranians, this is a step up in the conflict. Perhaps Barry should send some 'terrorism experts' over to led a hand. After all, it is a "legitimate" regime.

I for one think -- hope -- ... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

I for one think -- hope -- it was not Mossad, but the Iranian government itself, playing an elaborate and cynical game of "Blame the Great Satan and the Zionist Entity."

Because to boobytrap a scooter and have it blow up in a neighborhood where innocent people could have been killed is, indeed, terrorism, no matter who did it.

I really don't have a problem with the Isaraelis tergeting those who are a danger to them. But I would hope, if it were them, they would be a lot more "surgical" than to do what is described here.

And I must say, shame on those who would applaud a terrorist attack in a neighborhood where innocent civilians might very well have been killed. The Iranian people are not the enemy, I remind you. Terrorism is wrong, whether al Qaeda does it, the IRA, FARC, the Klan, or the Ladies'League.

According to Bruce; FDR, Tr... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

According to Bruce; FDR, Truman, Eisenhower and all bomber pilots in WWII were 'terrorists'.
If we had to fight it again, we'd lose with Bruce in charge.

That was, Les, the dumbest ... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

That was, Les, the dumbest response to anything I've ever said here. Who the hell was talking about World War Two?

If even if you don't know the difference between a boobytrapped scooter and the Enola Gay, Les, I assure you I do.

You know, not EVERYTHING is comparable to WW2, dumb....I'm sorry, I promised myself I wouldn't call people names. But, the stupid! It burns!!!!

I remember reading a story ... (Below threshold)

I remember reading a story a long time ago about a Russian intelligence officer that was murdered by some Bulgarians. The next day, the Bulgarians received a package with the ringleader's, uh, package in it. No further incidents occurred.

Sometimes, you just gotta let people know you're serious.

As opposed to phony, feelgood public relations bullshit about "dual track" sanctions against Iran that nobody in Washington or Tehran can even mention without giggling.

For those of you who think ... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

For those of you who think it's OK for Mossad to set off a bomb on a neighborhood street in Teheran (IF they did, and I'm not saying they did), let me ask you this:

What if this ali-Muhammadi guy had been living in Paris? Would that be OK? What if he was living in , say, Raleigh, NC? I mean, it's not terrorism if you're preventing an attack on Israel, right? And if you have to blow up a scooter on a neighborhood street to kill an Iranian nuclear scientist, what difference does it make where the street is?

I still say, shame on ANYONE defending an act of terrorism.

The Iranian nuclear program... (Below threshold)

The Iranian nuclear program is making EVERYONE in the ME nervous. Bombs in cellphones are the Mossad style. Bombs on vehicles are Arab-Iranian style. Syria, Saudi, Egypt, Jordan and Iraq all have reasons to not want radioactive fallout in their territories. Think about it. In the event someone does attack Iran, the fallout downwind would hit Pakistan, so I wonder if they'd like to limit (and maintain their Moslem supremacy nuclear) the Iranian program. Why jump on the Mossad?

Dumbass BruceI'll ... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

Dumbass Bruce

I'll type slow so your feeble mind can keep up.
I wasn't just writing about WWII; it could have been any war. The point was, since you are too dumb to see it, that the good guys killed tens of thousands of so-called 'innocent' civilians in bombing raids during that war. And it was o.k.

You seem to suffer some delusion that all operations can be as 'surgical' as the World of Warcraft fantasies you base your opinion on.

btw, how many 'innocent civilians' were killed along with Dr. A-bomb, hmmmm?

I know what your point was,... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

I know what your point was, Mr Nessman, and I apologise for the namecalling. But the analogy does not fit.

Civilians who were bombed in WW2 were aware, since the initial Blitzkrieg attacks of 1939, that they might be victims of aerial attack at any moment. It was unfortunate, but bombing civilian targets during a "total war" came to be seen as an accepted tactic.

Terrorism, as we understand it today, is something entirely different. Yes, I know that some people have claimed that Hiroshima was "terrorism," but that is not what is usually meant by that word.

By your logic, Mr Nessman, anyone could justify any act of violence if their "cause was just." That's dangerous thinking. In the 1960s, the Weather Underground justified their acts of terror by claiming that the US had bombed civilians in WW2, and were bombing civilians in Vietnam, saying that their own actions were equivalent, or at least no worse. Do you agree?

Unless I miss my guess, you think that if Mossad planted this bomb, it was justified. But what if it wasn't Mossad? If it was a Kurdish guerrilla group, is that OK? Suppose it was MI-5? Is it alright for MI-5 to explode a bomb on a neighborhood street? And suppose it was the Iranian government killing this dude because he supported the opposition leader? It's the same act; how could it be OK for Mossad to do it, but not the government of the country in which it took place? What if it was the opposition, killing a double agent?

It's the mark of a man who is not very well-read to leap to these simple-minded WW2 comparisons at the drop of a hat.

"btw, how many 'innocent ci... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

"btw, how many 'innocent civilians' were killed along with Dr. A-bomb, hmmmm?'

Afraid to answer, Bruce?

We don't fully know what happened or who did it; but if a nuke scientist from a terrorist rogue state with past, present and stated future aggressive intentions was killed ... you have a problem with that?

You had/have a problem with the CIA whacking dangerous people who needed/need whacked?

You got a problem with Obama's Predator strikes? Even the one's in Pakistan?

B Henry-"And if... (Below threshold)

B Henry-

"And if you have to blow up a scooter on a neighborhood street to kill an Iranian nuclear scientist, what difference does it make where the street is?"

I would'nt be surprised if their are Iranian nuclear scientists roaming around our streets with the security this administration has shown.

I refer you to comment # 13... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

I refer you to comment # 13, Mr Nessman. I already addressed whether the Israelis have a right to target those who are a threat to them (they do, in my opinion).

The answer to your "innocent civilians" question is, "We don't know." That is not addressed in the brief snippet quoted here. It doesn't mention any casualties other than al-Muhammadi. But I assume NONE.

That doesn't make it OK, either. Again, innocent civilians might very well have been killed. Again, the Iranian people are not the enemy, are they? Don't the Iranian people deserve our support in the struggle against the Mullahs? So how could we justify killing them in a sneaky IED attack?

And, no, I'm not afraid to answer any questions, especially those posed by the likes of you, sir.

As for your other questions, I would hope the CIA would be extremely careful in choosing who was so dangerous they needed to be "whacked." That's a euphemism for "killed" if I'm not mistaken. I'm not exactly comfortable with unelected government officials deciding to "whack" those it considers dangerous. I recognize it sometimes has to be done, but I would hope and pray it's done with extreme care and in consideration of unintended consequences. I sure hope the CIA is not "whacking" people willy-nilly, and I hope the Predator strikes are as surgical as possible. If I thought that they were being used indiscriminately, yes, I would have a problem.

"It doesn't mention any cas... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

"It doesn't mention any casualties other than al-Muhammadi. But I assume NONE."

Using your assumption, how do you know the strike wasn't as 'surgical' as you are (unrealistically) calling for? Sounds like it was pretty 'surgical', doesn't it?

Certain countries have declared total war on one country in particular. Then those countries had, have and will taken actions to attack that country. If that country strikes back, nobody has room to complain.

Terrorism is attacking civilians on purpose for the purpose of creating terror.

Attacking a particular target, while not trying to kill civilians, is not terrorism.

It's sad that you call this act 'terrorism' before we even know all the facts.

Ok, Mr Nessman, let's play ... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Ok, Mr Nessman, let's play a game. Let's play, "who's afraid to answer whose questions." I've posed several. You've answered none. I've answered all of yours, even if over a couple of posts. Let's just see....

Do you agree with the Weather Underground that setting off bombs on city streets among innocent civilians is morally equivalent to, say, the Christmas bombing of North Vietnam, or the Allied bombing of German cities in WW2?

If Mossad IS behind this, would it have been OK to have set this bomb off in Paris, NY, or Raleigh, if it accomplished their goal?

If Mossad is NOT behind it, but someone else is, is it acceptable? If not, why not?

Those are the ones I've already asked. Are you afraid to answer? Or are questions that don't involve simple, black/white solutions beyond your grasp?

As for how I know it wasn't "surgical," you're right, I don't. But a plot involving a boobytrapped motorcycle parked on a neighborhood street could easily have gone awry.

Lastly, can you post the Declaration of War passed by the Iranian parliament here so we can see it? What? There wasn't one?

Now, I recognize that there have been numerous bellicose statements from many Iranian politicians over the years, but there has never been a formal declaration of war by one state, Iran, on another, Israel, as far as I know. As a matter of fact, Iran has not initiated a war since 1745 or so.

1 no2 no (does Ralei... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

1 no
2 no (does Raleigh threaten to exterminate Israel? No? Oh, that's right. Because the three you listed are just straw men.)
3 depends

"Now, ...blah, blah, blah... Iran has not initiated a war since 1745 or so."

O.K., I have been willing to go over your obvious errors, but really; if you can't even admit the reality of some govts tried/try/will try to exterminate Israel, then there is really no point for you to jabber at the adults anymore.

I guess you're just a troll.

Troll away.

You say, "no" to question #... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

You say, "no" to question #1, Mr Nessman, but earlier you claimed that because I objected to a terrorist attack on a city street, I must have some objection to FDR's actions in WW2. You can't have it both ways, dude. It's either the same thing, or it isn't. Right?

The second question doesn't require that Paris, NY, or Raleigh attack anybody, Les. The question was, if it's OK to set off a bomb in Teheran to achieve a goal, would it be OK for Mossad to set off the same bomb in those other cities. But you knew that, you were just PLAYING dumb, I hope.

I'm afraid the third question requires more than a one-word answer. "Depends" can't really be an answer to "Why or why not?", can it? And even if it could, "Depends" on what, exactly? On who the bombsetters were? On whether or not YOU deem their cause just? Anyway, your flippant response tells me you were, indeed, afraid to answer a serious question.

The Iranian history thing is, I admit, a side issue. It's just that, if this WAS an attack by Mossad, it would be illegal under international law, since there has been no declaration of war by either party. And yes, I know international law is often sneered at, and sometimes rightfully so, but it remains a potent propaganda weapon for the party who can paint itself as "aggrieved."

And not a "troll" at all, Nessman. Just enjoying the back and forth with you.

yawn.Trolls will as ... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

Trolls will as trolls do I suppose.

But I'll respond to one of your fake points, then you'd better get back to naptime.

Regarding #1, you are either really stupid or just dishonest when you say bombing "city streets"; as if Mossad is just setting bombs off in any ol' city.
You even deceitfully mention "Paris, NY, or Raleigh" as if this is happening there. It's not the same thing, which is obvious to sane people.

But it didn't happen there. It happened to a nuke builder in the capital city of a terrorist state whose leaders have promised to utterly destroy another nation and kill all it's people.

You started out this thread with accusations of terrorism and yet we still don't know exactly what happened, other than there was an apparently surgical strike against an A-bomb builder in a terrorist state.

In other words, you started out trolling.

Weak indeed, Nessman. When ... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Weak indeed, Nessman. When you can't respond to what I actually wrote, you put words in my mouth, try to twist the meaning of what I said, refuse to answer serious questions, and then call me a "troll," as if a "troll" can't make valid points.

There was nothing "deceitful" about my question. If it's OK to set off a bomb in Teheran, why is it not OK to set it off in NY or Paris? Whoever set this bomb off is no more at war with the people of that neighborhood than they are with the citizens of NY.

If anyone is being "deceitful" here it's you, buddy. You keep reminding me that I don't know all the facts while repeating over and over that this guy was a "nuke-builder." You do not know that. As a matter of fact, I've seen several reports that he had nothing to do with the nukes program and was assassinated by his own government because he supported the Opposition.

Which brings us to another question you refuse to answer in anything but the most flippant manner: If it's OK for Mossad to set off a bomb to achieve their ends, how can you say it's not OK for any other organization to do so for reasons of their own? I'm pretty sure every bombsetter is convinced that they are doing the right thing. Since when did Les Nessman become the judge of what terrorist acts are moral and which are unjustified?

Which is my whole point. Setting off bombs on neighborhood streets is wrong and should be condemned by all civilized people. If it WAS Mossad who did this, it's my contention they should have used other means to eliminate this particular threat.

Try to argue the merits, and don't lower yourself to this tactic of attempting to discredit your opponent by calling him a "troll." It just shows how weak your arguments are.

-"Since when did Les Nessma... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

-"Since when did Les Nessman become the judge of what terrorist acts are moral and which are unjustified?"

Since when? Since I became an adult, and could use my own judgment, common sense and experience to evaluate what are and are not terrorist acts.
Since I grew up and could pay attention to history and current events, and learned not to use mealy-mouthed moral equivalence to look at the world. Someday, perhaps you too will grow up. Come on in, the water's fine.

-"If it WAS Mossad who did this, it's my contention they should have used other means to eliminate this particular threat."

Thus says SuperSpy Bruce, based on his extensive experience playing video games and watching several James Bond movies. Several!

Excellent, Mr Nessman. I'm ... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Excellent, Mr Nessman. I'm glad that you are "grown up" enough to know what a terrorist act is and what isn't. What a dumb thing to say.

What, every bomber in history, except the ones you approve of, are teenagers or something? Just choose a side, Grownups, and let's say, "This bomber is justified, that one is not, this terrorist has a good reason, but I don't like that one."

I thought conservatives were the ones who told us that some things are wrong, some things are right. Not that it's fine to set off a bomb on a city street if you are from Group A, but a despicable act of terrorism if you are from Group B.

Now, this whole argument has been about hypotheticals, anyway. I doubt it even WAS Mossad who set this bomb, as Iran wants us to believe. I certainly hope not. I think they're smarter than that.

So, if it wasn't Mossad, that leaves us with the possibility, among others, that it was the Iranian government. If THEY were the ones who set this bomb off, I guess they ARE terrorists, right? For doing the same thing that, had Mossad done it, they WOULD NOT be terrorists, right?






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