by James Corbett
9 October, 2012
In recent weeks Patrick Clawson, Director of Research at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, attracted attention and headlines for a speech he delivered at last month’s Washington Institute panel on “How to Build U.S.-Israeli Coordination on Preventing an Iranian Nuclear Breakout.” Unfortunately for him, the attention was not due to the quality of his speech, but to the remarkable nature of his open musings about the necessity to use duplicity in starting a war with Iran.
Clawson goes on to suggest that a “mysterious” downing of an Iranian submarine could get Iran to retaliate, thus provoking them into war. But it is the choice of historical precedents that Clawson points to in this clip that is particularly revealing. Fort Sumter. The USS Maine. The Lusitania. The Gulf of Tonkin. Pearl Harbor. All of these attacks are united by one key distinction: they are all examples of fabrications, exaggerations or provocations that were knowingly used to draw the United States into an unpopular war.
As Clawson mentions in the video, the first shots in the Civil War were provoked by Lincoln when he sent a hostile fleet, euphemistically named the “Relief Squadron” to Fort Sumter, a move which he knew would provoke a response by the Confederacy.
This technique of deliberate provocation was similarly employed by the US against the Japanese prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor. Henry Stimson, the US Secretary of War, had noted in his diary the week before the attack that he had discussed in a meeting with Roosevelt “how we should maneuver them [the Japanese] into the position of firing the first shot without allowing too much danger to ourselves.” Even though the Japanese naval codes had been deciphered long before the attack and a newly-declassified memo has emerged showing that FDR had been warned of an impending Japanese attack on Hawaii just three days before the events at Pearl Harbor, the history books still portray Pearl Harbor as an example of a surprise attack.
The US was drawn into the Spanish-American War by the sinking of the USS Maine in Havana Harbor, an event which William Randolph Hearst’s newspaper empire was quick to blame on the Spanish. Although it is now widely believed that the explosion on the Maine was due to a fire in one of its coal bunkers, the initial lurid reports of Spanish involvement stuck and the nation was led into war.
The US entry into WWI, meanwhile, was facilitated by the sinking of the Lusitania, a British ocean liner carrying American passengers that was torpedoed by German U-boats off the coast of Ireland, killing over 1,000 of its passengers. What the public was not informed about at the time, of course, was that just one week before the incident, then-First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill had written to the President of the Board of Trade that it was “most important to attract neutral shipping to our shores, in the hopes especially of embroiling the United States with Germany.” Nor did reports of the attack announce that the ship was carrying rifle ammunition and other military supplies. Instead, reports once again emphasized that the attack was an out-of-the-blue strike by a maniacal enemy, and the public was led into the war.
In August 1964, the public was told that the North Vietnamese had attacked a US Destroyer in the Gulf of Tonkin on two separate occasions. The attacks were portrayed as a clear example of “communist aggression” and a resolution was soon passed in Congress authorizing President Johnson to begin deploying US forces in Vietnam. In 2005, an internal NSA study was released concluding that the second attack in fact never took place. In effect, 60000 American servicemen and as many as three million Vietnamese, let alone as many as 500,000 Cambodians and Laotians, lost their lives because of an incident that did not occur anywhere but in the imagination of the Johnson administration and the pages of the American media.
Mr. Clawson may have been relying on the assumption that the portion of his audience who would object to these methods in provoking a war with Iran (and possibly the beginnings of World War III) would be too historically ignorant to know these facts. Amazingly, he is not even the first political insider to openly muse about the utility of using a staged attack to draw Iran into war.
In 2007, globalist insider and CFR member Gary Hart, wrote a virtually identical warning to the Iranian government about the US government’s ability to use staged and provocateured events to start a war. In Hart’s warning, entitled “Unsolicited Advice to the Government of Iran,” he similarly cites the Gulf of Tonkin, USS Maine, and Pearl Harbor as historical precedents for such an incident.
Predictably, Hart was never confronted on these statements by the mainstream media, but when confronted by independent citizen reporters at We Are Change, he admitted that he was warning of a possible false flag attack that was being planned at the highest levels of the US government to justify a bombing strike on Iran.
In 2008, Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh revealed a plan drawn up by Dick Cheney to build fake Iranian PT boats and to dress US troops up as Iranians in order to attack American ships, thus tricking the public into believing that the Iranians had attacked America.
More worrying than these statements, however, are the actions that have been taken in recent years to actually pin various bombings and even cyberattacks to the Iranian regime. The warmongers in Tel Aviv and Washington now appear desperate to pin any major terror event on the Iranian government in their desperate attempt to rally the public behind this new, potentially disastrous military gambit in the Middle East.
In October of 2011, the US Department of Justice, mired in the scandal over the Fast and Furious scheme to openly sell guns to Mexican drug lords, attempted to divert attention by claiming to bust a plot by Iran to assassinate a Saudi diplomat in the United States. The far-fetched plot supposedly revolved around the Iranians attempting to hire a Mexican assassin who turned out to be a paid information of the US Drug Enforcement Agency. Even at the time, the story was roundly derided as political scaremongering by much of the international community, and the case quickly fell from the headlines.
This year, a new meme has been created: that the Iranian government, already under intense scrutiny for its nuclear program and facing the toughest economic sanctions in the world, is now taking to staging bombings in various places around the world, allegedly to kill groups of Israeli diplomats and/or tourists. The incidents that Tel Aviv has attempted to blame on Iran so far this year include bombings in India, Thailand, Georgia, and Bulgaria. What long-term advantage the current Iranian government would hope to gain even if the bombings had resulted in the death of Israeli diplomats is as yet unexplained by those attempting to pin the blame on Iran.
In the latest round of hysteria, the Iranians are now being blamed for a denial of service attack that we are told is hitting the largest banks in America.
So far, no evidence has been provided for this assertion, either.
That the warmongers are so desperate to frame Iran for any and every attack taking place in the world is worrying, to be sure, but at the end of the day, perhaps there is something hopeful we can take away from this. The fact that the Patrick Clawsons and Gary Harts and Dick Cheneys of the world are dreaming up their provocations and incidents to justify an invasion of Iran means that, at the very least, some measure of justification is still needed to embroil the NATO powers in another war. Once again we find that it is the people who hold the power, and it is the people who must be convinced about the need for this war. Here in 2012, now 9 years after the debacle in Iraq and 1 year after the debacle in Libya, are going to need more convincing than ever that it is necessary to deploy the war machine yet again for another round of military adventurism. And now that the mainstream media has expended whatever was left of their credibility pimping the “weapons of mass destruction” propaganda, the so-called political elite realize that nothing less than a spectacular provocation will do to rouse the public’s ire.
In contrast, our task is a relatively simple one: to inform the public about this history of false flag terrorism, and how the warmongers are now openly signaling their willingness to use these duplicitous methods to get the public into war. Given the deep mistrust that exists at all level of society for the war machine and their political mouthpieces, this should be a relatively easy task. But this is no excuse for us to rest on our laurels, for if we don’t succeed in innoculating the public against whatever false flag incident the neocons hold up their sleeve, the consequence could be the beginning of a third world war.