Aletho News


Israel lobbyist hints that ‘Pearl Harbor’ may be needed to get US into war with Iran

By Maidhc Ó Cathail | The Passionate Attachment | September 25, 2012

Last Friday, during question time at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy policy forum luncheon on “How to Build US-Israeli Coordination on Preventing an Iranian Nuclear Breakout,” the director of research at the pro-Israel think tank hinted that a Pearl Harbor-type attack might be necessary to get the United States to go to war against the Islamic Republic.

“I frankly think that crisis initiation is really tough,” said Patrick Clawson, who also heads the Washington Institute’s Iran Security Initiative, in response to a question about what would happen if negotiations with Tehran fail. “And it’s very hard for me to see how the United States … uh … President can get us to war with Iran.”

As a consequence, Clawson said he was led to conclude that “the traditional way [that] America gets to war is what would be best for US interests.”

Intriguingly, he went on to recount a series of controversial incidents in American history — the attack on Pearl Harbor, the sinking of the Lusitania, the Gulf of Tonkin incident, and the blowing up of the USS Maine — that US presidents “had to wait for” before taking America to war.

“And may I point out that Mr. Lincoln did not feel he could call out the federal army until Fort Sumter was attacked,” Clawson continued, “which is why he ordered the commander at Fort Sumter to do exactly that thing which the South Carolinians had said would cause an attack.”

“So, if in fact the Iranians aren’t going to compromise,” the Israel lobbyist concluded with a smirk on his face, “it would be best if somebody else started the war.”

Note: Clawson begins his answer around the 1 hour 15 minute mark.

September 25, 2012 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular, Video, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

War At Any Cost: Another Manufactured Pretext for War with Syria

By Eric Draitser | Stop Imperialism | June 25th, 2012

The downing of a Turkish jet by the Syrian military last week was not merely a military incident making the possibility of an intervention and regional war much more likely.  This episode was the most recent in a long and storied history of “international incidents” or provocations used by imperial powers as pretexts for military aggression.  Without such incidents, the forces of imperialism are seen as nothing more than aggressors, out to destroy weaker nations in their own interests.  However, with the necessary justifications that such episodes provide, those same powers can portray their wars as justified, necessary, and wholly righteous.

This event last week was only the latest in a series of provocations specifically designed to justify a military intervention.  However, as the façade of the Houla “massacre”, the use of children as human shields, and the countless other lies propagated by the Western media have been debunked or otherwise exposed, the Western imperialist ruling class looks for a new incident to legitimize their plan for total war on Syria.

Just the Facts

On June 21st, a Turkish jet was shot down by Syrian military forces. Initially, the Western media rushed to portray this incident as a blatantly aggressive action by Assad and his military, hoping to play off their many months of propagandizing the public into believing Assad to be the devil incarnate.  Vigorous condemnations were heard from all corners of the Western ruling establishment, as the world seemed to move closer to another so-called intervention.  However, as the episode unfolded, the media had to backtrack and, as usual, reversed their initial story without a fraction of the fanfare that the initial lie had.  They had to admit publicly that, in fact, the Turkish jet had violated Syrian airspace and so, according to international law, Syria was well within their rights to shoot it down.  This fact gets lost in the narrative however, as the world looks to NATO, the military arm of US power projection around the world, to “act decisively”.

This episode is merely the latest attempt by the imperialist establishment to drum up support for some form of military intervention by portraying the Assad regime as bloodthirsty monsters.  Last month, we saw the world recoil in horror at the brutality of what came to be known as the Houla “massacre”.  However, as the United States, France, and the other Western powers attempted to spin the event as a brutal example of why they must wage war on Syria, the truth came out that, in fact, the victims of the massacre were not killed by government shelling, but by close range execution attributable to the NATO-sponsored death squads unleashed on the people of Syria.

Like the Houla massacre, the outrageous claim that the Syrian military was using children as human shields was designed to play on the emotions of the international community in hopes of eliciting a swift response and creating a climate conducive to war.  Naturally, no evidence exists to back up this claim other than a dubious UN report based on so-called “activists” and “eyewitnesses”.  The Western propagandists are less interested in being able to support these claims than simply making them and implanting them into the public consciousness.

The Historical Precedent

These sorts of manufactured provocations are nothing new.  There is a rich historical record of such incidents being manipulated, distorted, or entirely fabricated in order to create a pretext for war.  One of the most famous examples of what has come to be known as the “false flag” phenomenon is the Gleiwitz incident.  Nazi operatives dressed as Polish soldiers attacked a German radio station and then claimed that this was the work of Polish saboteurs.  The Nazis even went so far as to import bodies and stage an entire scene which could then be offered up to the press as “evidence” of the assault.  Naturally, the incident was used as the direct pretext for the Nazi invasion of Poland and the official start of World War II.

A similar international false flag event, today known as the Gulf of Tonkin incident, led to the official start of the Vietnam War.  The claim was that the North Vietnamese had deliberately fired on two separate US naval vessels and that this, as an act of war, justified the US officially entering the war.  Of course, these incidents have since been totally debunked by declassified documents that show, even at the time, lawmakers were skeptical of the claims.  However, this episode illustrates the power of manufactured provocations to shape the course of foreign policy and the waging of war.

Perhaps no so-called “international incident” demonstrates more plainly the power of the media to influence public opinion and provide the necessary pretext for war than the sinking of the USS Maine.  This event, which was manufactured by William Randolph Hearst and the US establishment in order to justify imperial aggression against Cuba, demonstrates the role of the media in making the case for war.  In the lead-up to the sinking of the Maine, Hearst’s and other papers published wild stories of Spanish atrocities all throughout Cuba, the sorts of atrocities that required intervention.  Naturally, the Maine incident provided the cover and the US entered into what came to be known as the Spanish-American War. More importantly, however, today’s observers should note that this moment in history is perhaps the official beginning of US imperialism (treatment of the indigenous Native population on the continent notwithstanding).

What To Do?

What makes this issue of false flag events and “international incidents” relevant is the fact that the imperialist ruling class will manufacture as many of these sorts of episodes as is necessary for their wars.  Because of this, it is incumbent on the forces standing in opposition to such aggression to uphold the principles of international law and justice.  Syria was well within their rights to shoot down a foreign jet operating within their airspace, just as the US military would be within its rights to shoot down a Mexican warplane within US airspace.

However, this episode is far larger than simply international law.  Indeed, it strikes at the heart of the concept of the nation-state.  It demonstrates first, the power of the nation, with its leaders, citizens, and institutions to resist the forces of imperialism.  Conversely, it shows the existential need of the imperialist ruling class to destroy strong, independent nations that refuse to be enslaved by the forces of finance capital and imperial economic domination.  Syria is the frontline of the struggle against these forces, and those who believe themselves to be anti-imperialists must unite to denounce provocations, pretexts, and legitimizations manufactured by the imperialist ruling class and preempt all their attempts to drive the world ever closer to total war.

June 26, 2012 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 2 Comments

Friend or Foe?

By John Andrews | Dissident Voice | May 15th, 2012

The almost unknown subject of False Flag events is  slowly creeping into people’s conscious awareness; and about time too.

The term comes from a tactic that was commonly employed many centuries ago by all the navies of fledgling empires. Although these navies very occasionally engaged in heroic battles with each other in order to protect the citizens of their countries from invading hoards, as our history books suggest, the far more common use of mighty battleships was for theft. Sinking an enemy ship was never the intention of these engagements, and would have been seen as something of a failure. The purpose was to capture the ship, preferably undamaged, and steal anything and everything from the personal possessions of the crew to the very ship itself, which would then be recycled by the victors. After all, what could possibly be the point of sinking an expensive ship, laden to the gunnels with the riches of plundered foreign colonies, when its capture would serve exactly the same political purpose, as well as providing vast wealth?

The Royal Navy, for example, routinely operated a “prize” system right up until quite recent times; and although acts of piracy don’t form quite the same staple diet in the senior service as they used to do, prize legislation remains on British statute books to this day. Right up until the nineteenth century “prize courts” would routinely assess and divvy-up the wealth of ships that had been attacked and seized by the jolly Jack Tars. Some of the plunder was apportioned to the ship’s crew. Of course, it wasn’t an equal distribution of wealth, where the loblolly boy, say, received as much of a cut as the captain; nor was the cut in any way equal to the share gifted to the high and mighty Lords of the Admiralty, who weren’t required to do anything more dangerous for their cut than over-indulge themselves in London society. However, some small portion of the “prize” would find its way to even the lowliest cabin boy – the original “trickle-down” effect perhaps. In short, the routine day-job of the glorious Royal Navy was plunder. In fact, the only way the great sailors of Nelson’s day differed from common pirates was that the piracy of Nelson’s navy was simply deemed to be legal. It’s a similar principle to the one that’s alive and well to this day, and helping to keep investment bankers out of jail.

But even hardened cynics such as myself find it difficult not to admire the considerable skill that was often required for some of the encounters that took place between the mighty warships of Nelson’s day. In the days before modern communications these great behemoths, seventy metres long with a thousand souls on board, could only use the power of the wind to move around, so finding and engaging and defeating an enemy in thousands of square miles of empty ocean was no easy matter, and the seamanship required for these encounters was often truly amazing. Apart from some acts of genuine courage, with perhaps just a hint of insanity, these sailors also relied on a host of devious tricks and raw cunning to capture a “prize”. Apart from plenty of luck, you also needed a good brain to be an effective captain in Nelson’s day; and it’s hardly surprising, given hundreds of years of regular practice in the dark arts of subterfuge and deceit, that the roots of the British intelligence service were established in the Royal Navy.

One of the many tricks used in the days of sail was to make your ship appear friendly to the watchful telescopes of the prospective prize; and the easiest way to do this was to ensure the flags your ship were flying were not those of your own country but were either exactly the same as those of the prize, or the same as those of whichever country was friendly to the prize. This simple ruse would, of course, eventually be discovered as a trick; and, of course, every ship’s crew knew about the trick. However, it would invariably buy some invaluable time, making all the difference between success and failure, enabling the hunter to get close enough to his prey to capture him before the darkness of night might come to the hapless victim’s rescue.

This tactic is still very much alive and well, and survives in modern language usage as the “false flag” attack, to mean an attack by someone who isn’t quite who they seem to be. Variations of it include attacks perpetrated by people pretending to be enemies of the state. These attacks may be carried out by the state’s own armed forces, or by paid mercenaries, or by allies of the state. History is rich with evidence.

Take, for example, the infamous sinking of the Maine. In 1898, when the US was beginning to flex its expansionist muscles abroad, the battleship USS Maine was blown up in Havana harbour. Although there was no evidence to support it, the incident was blamed on Spain, who controlled Cuba at the time; and it had the desired effect of triggering the Spanish American war which eventually led to Spain’s eviction from the island and the installation of a US puppet regime – a model that would be successfully repeated time and again for many decades to come. Fifty-five years later something very similar happened again – this time without going to the extra expense of actually sinking any ships.

On August 4, 1964 the world was informed that another US warship, the USS Maddox, had come under sustained attack by North Vietnam. It was the event which directly led to ten years of total hell for tens of millions of people in South East Asia, and whose effects are still being felt to this day. Fifty years after the false flag event of the Maddox, declassified documents revealed that the US government was fully aware at the time that no such attack had taken place. But by then, of course, the false flag had long served its purpose.

Although the term “false flag” originated from these naval deceptions, false flag incidents have never been solely confined to the high seas. Armies have always used any number of devices to deceive their victims, and anyone who’s ever watched a Hollywood war movie is probably aware of it; for how many of these movies have included a scene where either the good guys or the bad guys dress up in the uniforms of their enemy in order to carry out some raid or another? Is that not a completely routine story-line? Although many of these movies are obviously fictitious, these deceptions, which might also be called “false flag” adventures, are based on normal military tactics which have been used by almost every army, probably since the beginning of civilisation.

However, Hollywood movies seldom reveal the true evil and cynicism of war. Therefore not many of the 99%, who obtain much of their understanding of the world in general and history in particular from the silver screen, know anything at all about the truly dark side of all armies in general, and their leaders in particular. For how many Hollywood movies tell the stories of how armies routinely slaughter defenceless people? Although they will sometimes depict the enemy of the day carrying out these atrocities, they never show the so-called “good guys” doing it – which creates in the mind of the viewer the impression that our armies never behave in such a beastly fashion. But they most certainly do.

Consider the vast number of movies that came out of Hollywood telling how the west was won – how handfuls of brave adventurers defeated marauding hoards of screaming bloodthirsty savages, which was, in fact, a complete inversion of the truth. And how many war movies told the truth about the bombing of Dresden, or of Hiroshima and Nagasaki? These completely needless events took place in the closing days of World War Two, when Germany and Japan were already crushed nations. They were events which deliberately targeted hundreds of thousands of defenceless civilians, and served absolutely no military purpose whatsoever. They were war crimes, already outlawed by the Geneva Convention. Not many Hollywood movies tell us that.

Although these mass slaughters of defenceless civilians are a different aspect of the cynicism of war, and cannot be considered as false flag adventures, it’s important to cite these as evidence of the psychotic ruthlessness of our own trusted leaders and the brainwashed youngsters who are routinely conditioned to obey an order, any order.

It’s important to grasp this principle of war that not even Hollywood can glamorise: that our trusted leaders can and do routinely issue orders to slaughter innocent defenceless civilians, and that brainwashed young people then carry out those orders, and that society is then brainwashed into considering these young people to be heroes. Not even Hollywood can glamorise the deep cynicism of that fact.

My own personal first-hand experience of false flag adventures was obtained in the late seventies, in Rhodesia, where I was batting out my national service as an intelligence officer. Our army had a small unit of people called the Selous Scouts. They were considered the elite of the elite, and were supposedly originally created by a couple of junior officers serving in the Rhodesian SAS who thought the SAS wasn’t quite hard enough. I did some of my training with the Scouts. They were definitely different.

Later on, when I was operational, I was based in a small rural outpost called Rusape. For me it was a very comfortable posting and, I’m very glad to say, I managed to see out my time there without being injured and, I’m even more glad to say, without causing injury to anyone else.

Each morning, after a leisurely breakfast, I would saunter over to the operations room to see what was going on. Like almost every military operations room in the world, one wall of it was given over to a huge map of our area of responsibility. Most of the time it was just a map of rural Rhodesia, with little coloured stickers on it depicting some sort of recent “terrorist” incident – such as a landmine going off, or an attack on some isolated school or clinic. My job would be to go out to investigate these incidents and report on them. Sometimes it was very harrowing, but mostly it was a fairly pleasant way to sit out the war.

But every now and then I would turn up to the ops room in the morning and would be met with the sight of a sizeable chunk of the map covered over in hatched lines. Everyone understood that that area had been “frozen”. This meant that no army personnel or police were to go into that area. The Scouts had moved into it. For a few weeks after that life went on pretty much as normal everywhere else on the patch; but no information at all emerged from the area with the mysterious hatching; and then one morning I’d turn up for work and the hatching would have been removed from the map as mysteriously as it had first appeared.

Within a day or two of that happening the reports would start rolling in from where the Scouts had been, about “terrorist” murders at some isolated village or another, of a “terrorist” rocket attack on a small business centre perhaps, or a “terrorist” landmine blowing up a rural bus. These would all have been carried out by the Scouts, dressed up as “terrorists” and using “terrorist” weaponry.

The purpose of these attacks was a variation of that old favourite: the hard cop/soft cop routine. The Scouts’ role was to try to out-terrorise the forces working for the likes of Robert Mugabe, to try to alienate the local population from Mugabe’s men by pretending to be Mugabe’s men and committing such atrocities that the locals would be repulsed by them. Then when the soft cops turned up in the shape of government forces, the locals would feel like offering their help and support. It’s called winning hearts and minds, and was a tactic that had already been used by US special forces in Vietnam before that, and by British special forces all over the place before that: Malaya, Congo, Kenya, Aden…

Some would dismiss false flag adventures as conspiracy theory, which is, of course, a very convenient way to persuade the 99% that our trusted leaders couldn’t possibly stoop so low. But history is rich with proof that they most certainly do stoop so low, with amazing frequency. So the really important lesson to learn in all of this is that whenever a so-called “terrorist” outrage occurs, especially those outrages where the perpetrators haven’t been caught in action (and rounding up “suspects” after the event cannot be trusted either – as the “Guildford Four” and “Birmingham Six”, for example, could confirm)… always, always recall the very real world of false flag adventures.

John Andrews is a writer whose main work is Peace Talk.

May 15, 2012 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , | 1 Comment