7 Reasons to Doubt US Version of Gulf-of-Oman Incident

Given Pompeo’s regime-change agenda for Iran, Caitlin Johnstone pours cold water over his version of events. 

Mike Pompeo addressing reporters in New York City in May 2018. (US State Department)

By Caitlin Johnstone

In a move that surprised exactly zero people, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has wasted no time  scrambling to blame Iran for damage done to two sea vessels in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday, citing exactly zero evidence.

“This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping, and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high-degree of sophistication,” Pompeo told the press in a statement.

“The United States will defend its forces, interests, and stand with our partners and allies to safeguard global commerce and regional stability. And we call upon all nations threatened by Iran’s provocative acts to join us in that endeavor,” Pompeo concluded before hastily shambling off, taking exactly zero questions.

Here are seven reasons to be extremely skeptical of everything Pompeo said:

No. 1: Pompeo is a known liar, especially when it comes to Iran.

Pompeo has a well-established history of circulating blatant lies about Iran. He recently told an audience at Texas A&M University that when he was leading the CIA, “We lied, we cheated, we stole. We had entire training courses.”

No. 2: The US empire is known to use lies and false flags to start wars.

The U.S.-centralized power alliance has an extensive and well-documented history of advancing preexisting military agendas using lies, false flags and psyops to make targeted governments appear to be the aggressors. This is such a well-established pattern that “Gulf of Tonkin” briefly trended on Twitter after the Gulf of Oman incident. Any number of government agencies could have been involved from any number of the nations in this alliance, including the U.S., the U.K., Saudi Arabia, the UAE or Israel.

No. 3: John Bolton has openly endorsed lying to advance military agendas.

wrote an article about this last month because the Trump administration had already begun rapidly escalating against Iran in ways that happen to align perfectly with the longtime agendas of Trump’s psychopathic Iran hawk National security adviser. At that time people were so aware of the possibility that Bolton might involve himself in staging yet another Middle Eastern war based on lies that The Onion was already spoofing it.

On a December 2010 episode of Fox News’ Freedom Watch,” Bolton and the show’s host Andrew Napolitano were debating about recent WikiLeaks publications, and naturally the subject of government secrecy came up.

“Now I want to make the case for secrecy in government when it comes to the conduct of national security affairs, and possibly for deception where that’s appropriate,” Bolton said. “You know Winston Churchill said during World War Two that in wartime truth is so important it should be surrounded by a bodyguard of lies.”

“Do you really believe that?” asked an incredulous Napolitano.

“Absolutely,” Bolton replied.

“You would lie in order to preserve the truth?”

“If I had to say something I knew was false to protect American national security, I would do it,” Bolton answered.

This would be the same John Bolton who has been paid exorbitant speaking fees by the pro-regime change MEK terror cult, promising the cult in a 2017 speech that they’d be celebrating regime change in Tehran together before 2019. This would also be the same John Bolton who once threatened to murder an OPCW official’s children if he didn’t stop getting in the way of his Iraq war agenda.

No. 4: Using false flags to start a war with Iran is already an established idea in the DC swamp.

Back in 2012 at a forum for the Washington Institute of Near East Policy think tank, the group’s Director of Research Patrick Clawson openly talked about the possibility of using a false flag to provoke a war with Iran, citing the various ways the U.S. has done exactly that with its previous wars.

“I frankly think that crisis initiation is really tough, and it’s very hard for me to see how the United States president can get us to war with Iran,” Clawson began.

“Which leads me to conclude that if in fact compromise is not coming, that the traditional way that America gets to war is what would be best for U.S. interests,” Clawson added. “Some people might think that Mr. Roosevelt wanted to get us into the war… you may recall we had to wait for Pearl Harbor. Some people might think that Mr. Wilson wanted to get us into World War One; you may recall we had to wait for the Lusitania episode. Some people might think that Mr. Johnson wanted to get us into Vietnam; you may recall we had to wait for the Gulf of Tonkin episode. We didn’t go to war with Spain until the USS Maine exploded. And may I point out that Mr. Lincoln did not feel that he could call out the Army until Fort Sumter was attacked, which is why he ordered the commander at Fort Sumter to do exactly that thing which the South Carolinians said would cause an attack.”

“So if, in fact, the Iranians aren’t going to compromise, it would be best if somebody else started the war,” Clawson continued. “One can combine other means of pressure with sanctions. I mentioned that explosion on August 17th. We could step up the pressure. I mean look people, Iranian submarines periodically go down. Some day, one of them might not come up. Who would know why? [Smattering of sociopathic laughter from the crowd.] We can do a variety of things, if we wish to increase the pressure (I’m not advocating that) but I’m just suggesting that this is not an either/or proposition  —  just sanctions have to succeed or other things. We are in the game of using covert means against the Iranians. We could get nastier at that.”

No. 5: The US State Department has already been running psyops to manipulate the public Iran narrative.

State Department officials admitted to congressional staff at a closed-door meeting on Monday that a $1.5 million troll farm had gone “beyond the scope of its mandate” by aggressively smearing American critics of the Trump administration’s Iran policy as propagandists for the Iranian government, according to a new report from The Independent. That “mandate” had reportedly consisted of “countering propaganda from Iran,” also known as conducting anti-Iran propaganda.

“Critics in Washington have gone further, saying that the programme resembled the type of troll farms used by autocratic regimes abroad,” says The Independent.

“One woman behind the harassment campaign, a longtime Iranian-American activist, has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the State Department over the years to promote ‘freedom of expression and free access to information,’” the report reads.

No. 6: The Gulf of Oman narrative makes no sense.

One of the ships damaged in the attacks was Japanese-owned, and the other was bound for Japan. This happened just as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was in Tehran attempting to negotiate a de-escalation between the U.S. and Iran with Trump’s blessing, and just after Iran had released a prisoner accused of conducting espionage for the U.S. in what many took to be a gesture of good faith.

Iran has been conducting itself with remarkable restraint in the face of relentless sanctions and provocations from the U.S. and its allies. It wouldn’t make much sense for it to suddenly abandon that restraint with attacks on sea vessels, then rescue their crew, then deny perpetrating the attacks, during a time of diplomatic exchanges and while trying to preserve the nuclear deal with Europe. If Tehran did perpetrate the attacks in order to send a strong message to the Americans, it would have been a very mixed message sent in a very weird way with very odd timing.

No. 7: Even if Iran did perpetrate the attack, Pompeo would still be lying.

Pompeo’s statement uses the words “unprovoked” twice and “Iran’s provocative acts” once, explicitly claiming that the U.S. empire was just minding its own business leaving Iran alone when it was attacked out of the blue by a violent aggressor. Sometimes the things put out by the U.S. State Department feel like they’re conducting experiments on us, just to test the limits of our stupidity.

As noted in this article by Moon of Alabama and this discussion on the Ron Paul Liberty Report, the U.S. has been provoking Iran with extremely aggressive and steadily tightening sanctions, which means that even if Tehran is behind the attacks, it would not be the aggressor and the attacks would most certainly not have been “unprovoked.” Economic sanctions are an act of war; if China were to do to America’s economy what America is doing to Iran’s, the U.S. would be in a hot war with China immediately. It could technically be possible that Iran is pushing back on U.S. aggressions and provocations, albeit in a strange and neoconservatively convenient fashion.

Either way, we have seen exactly zero evidence supporting Pompeo’s claims, so anyone you see hastening to blame Iran for the Gulf of Oman incident is either a war whore or a slobbering moron, or both. Knowing what we know about the U.S.-centralized empire and its pre-existing regime change agenda against Iran, there is no reason to believe Pompeo and many reasons not to.

Caitlin Johnstone is a rogue journalist, poet, and utopia prepper who publishes regularly at Medium. Follow her work on FacebookTwitter, or her website. She has a podcast and a new book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers.” This article was re-published with permission.

104 comments for “7 Reasons to Doubt US Version of Gulf-of-Oman Incident

  1. Jimmy g
    June 19, 2019 at 16:28

    The inability of so many posters here to begin to comprehend what a government that does not care what the POTUS says ( whomever that person might be) is astounding. Most posts here reek of simple anti Trump singlemindedness.
    Look people, the government that has tried to overthrow the U.S. IS the very deep state that has been exposed. Do none of you realize that all the proof that CIA and other intelligence services have been trying to destroy the Trump Presidency would be sidelined if they could have another war?
    This isn’t Trumps War, this is another example of the way the non elected worldwide criminal elements manipulate the most powerful military in the world to advance ( and protect) their own agenda and methods.
    This is nothing new, and it hasn’t anything to do with “Trumps mental condition” or “American hegemony” .
    It’s another move by the international network that has been doing this for way longer than anyone wants to face up to.
    The real perpetrators of this are the very ones who do not want their dirtywork ( Russiagate/ Mueller-gate) exposed.

    • Skip Scott
      June 24, 2019 at 07:42

      I think you are misreading what many other commenters write. Quite a few of us understand that the empire is bigger than the USA, and that it matters little who is president. Many of the commenters here do not like Trump, but only a small percentage suffer from TDS. The USA’s MIC is the muscle for empire, and they care not a whit for our own “National” security. In fact they make us less secure by creating unnecessary enemies.

  2. June 18, 2019 at 07:08

    Caitlin as always: on the money

    • Hank
      June 19, 2019 at 09:30

      Why would Iran do something like this with ZERO strategic reasons? Why would they offer a “justification’ to its enemies to attack it when those enemies are constantly warning against such an attack?

      “This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation . . . ” So is Mr. Pompous Ass saying that Israel, Saudi Arabia and the USA, three nations with a SUPER motivation to carry out these tanker attacks and blame them on Iran, do NOT have the weapons, intelligence and expertise? The only nations that profit by Iran being framed are those who want war with Iran. When will the USA be held to account for its crimes? It’s time to take the spotlight off of Iran and put it squarely where it belongs- on the criminal regimes in DC and Tel Aviv!

  3. June 17, 2019 at 14:56


    Note, the US has advanced drones active in the region.

    We know that to a certainty because there was a complaint about Iran trying to shoot down an American MQ-9 Reaper drone near the location of recent events with the tankers.

    And of course, the US has its unblinking fleet of Keyhole Spy Satellites operating 24 hours a day.

    The satellites have cameras comparable to the Hubble Space Telescope.

    Either source is capable of giving us infinitely better images than those grainy blobs the US tried passing off as proof of Iranian foul play in the Gulf of Oman.

    Yet we never see a single image from either one of these sources in this matter, as in a good many others, such as the downing of Flight MH-17 in Ukraine.

    Wonder why that is, do you think?

  4. Brian James
    June 17, 2019 at 12:39

    Sep 11, 2011 General Wesley Clark: Wars Were Planned – Seven Countries In Five Years

    “This is a memo that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.” I said, “Is it classified?” He said, “Yes, sir.” I said, “Well, don’t show it to me.” And I saw him a year or so ago, and I said, “You remember that?” He said, “Sir, I didn’t show you that memo! I didn’t show it to you!”


    • druid
      June 17, 2019 at 13:27

      And the seven countries is related to the Hebrew bible in which it states seven nations who oppose the heeebs will be destroyed. Always near or purim, the jewish holiday that’s a free for all against the goy

  5. Aspnaz
    June 17, 2019 at 08:03

    Lip service: it’s great as entertainment, a bit like drawing a picture of Bolton while pissing against a tree. Will your doing nothing get the rest of us killed: haven’t you noticed that countries and states don’t care what you think, they only care about losing their power. I was protesting last weekend, but I bet most of you were using mental masturbation to fight for your rights. Prove me wrong?

  6. Clint Moose
    June 17, 2019 at 07:18

    Who will get the most out of a gulf war with Iran ? probably Netanyahu. He’s extremely dangerous now with the serious 3+ corruption charges awaiting him, and the uncertainty due to the new and unexpected election cycle. He’s only way out is to be able to form a coalition after the election and control the justice department’s key figures.
    I will not be surprised if there’s a new war cycle with Ian in Syria soon. He has a lot to lose, and only one goal in mind: to stay in power, nevermind the cost to Israelis or what’s right for their country. that may or may not have a connection to the oil vessel incident.
    As an Israeli, i sure have a bad case of the fear now.

  7. drake koefoed
    June 16, 2019 at 21:35

    Good piece. I’m sure she’s right.

  8. Javier Rojas
    June 16, 2019 at 20:58

    Only Trump supporters and warmongers believe the lies.

  9. David
    June 16, 2019 at 16:36

    No Doubt-7 stupid reasons for Dummies,
    Leftist Iran defender Caitlin is true LIAR,
    I vomited when I read this stinking article. As I meet a crazy barking Dog I run away.
    As I see crazy articles I say – shut up.
    Consortium News shame on you. Best wishes.

    • Ž hu
      June 17, 2019 at 06:08

      “I vomited… “Yet you returned, like the fool in Proverbs.

    • druid
      June 17, 2019 at 13:29

      proves you’re one of the chosen who wants iran destroyed

    June 16, 2019 at 12:53

    One is tempted to ask, why just seven?

  11. Jack
    June 16, 2019 at 10:12

    So the boogie man did it. Of course we have all kinds of stuff going on. Back to who bombed the ships was it the biggie man.

  12. Ken Meyercord
    June 16, 2019 at 09:50

    Who and why of the attack on the tankers in the Arabian Sea is clear, though the how remains uncertain. The who is the United States; the why is to intimidate the Japanese. It’s no coincidence the Japanese PM was in Iran at the time, no doubt negotiating the delivery of Iranian oil to Japan. The first visit ever of a Japanese PM to Iran while we are trying to sanction Iran and cut off their exporting of oil would not sit well with our Great Gamers. We needed to show the Japanese who it is that controls shipping out of the Persian Gulf (it’s not the Iranians… yet). Japan’s importing of much more than just Iranian oil could be cut off in a heartbeat (we’ve done it before). Whether the Japanese were sufficiently intimidated to mind their manners remains to be seen.

    P.S. It’s interesting that the tankers were carrying oil products, not crude oil. The Japanese, ironically, may be forced to turn to us as the world’s largest exporter of oil products to replace the lost cargoes. It’s also interesting that one of the tankers was supposedly destined for Taiwan according to its manifest but was in fact headed for Japan. Were the Japanese compounding their affront by trying to sneak around our sanctions?

    • Baron
      June 17, 2019 at 08:16

      You’re absolutely spot on, Ken, the reason for the staging of the two incidents was both to prepare the public fro a possible military incursion (by a proxy preferably), and also to seriously warn Japan not to try and protect their interests i.e. buying oil from Iran. Abe should listen to the Okinawa plebs who want the Americans out of Japan, they have overstayed their welcome, Japan no longer needs the US protection, the country’s Defence Forces are massive, more than capable of defending the Land of the Rising Sun.

  13. Realist
    June 16, 2019 at 03:20

    Irrespective of the tortuously contrived narratives and false flags used to set off these many wars of aggression started by the U.S., which would make them all unjustified and illegal under international justice, if such a thing were ever enforced in this age, just what sense of proportionality does Washington ever imagine to justify the wanton slaughter and human suffering it imposes on these countries for getting in the way of its quest for world domination?

    Isn’t one of the requirements for a “just war” that the people caught in the middle of such deliberate mass murder, the wholesale degradation of their infrastructure and their ability to support a reasonable standard of living is actually improved, and certainly not crashed beyond all sense of hope, when the shooting stops and the occupation begins? Doesn’t the “victor” in such a “just” war have the obligation to care for the losers, give them food, medical care and help them rebuild the country?

    Based on the devastation that Washington leaves behind in all of its wars, that would amount to vast amounts more in money and attention than it ever puts in. Washington should be able to document, chapter and verse, exactly how much better off the citizens of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and sundry other less-ballyhooed killing fields have been after America’s war machine ground their countries into hamburger.

    All that can really be said is that the entire Middle East has been left in ruin, destabilized and unable to truly recover or rebuild (actually goals that Washington policy purposely impedes). The instability has spilled far beyond the frontiers of the countries attacked by Washington, its allies or its mercenaries, encroaching into the most distant regions of Europe, such as Sweden, Denmark and Northern Germany.

    Not a damned thing has changed for the better for anyone–except maybe a few local warlords–after America’s incursions into these countries. Now it wants to spread the cancer into Iran, Venezuela, North Korea and probably Ukraine. Whatever Washington gets its claws into is guaranteed of widespread, wanton destruction with no hope for a timely restabilisation or rebuilding. These wars of choice forced on hapless victim countries from the inception of this century represent the blackest stain on America’s reputation and place in the history books.

    Advice to the world: just bite the bullet and tell the Yanks quartered in your countries to get the hell out. Go home, take your weapons of mass destruction with you, and, if we have to suffer economic sanctions by you maniacs, we’ll do so as a badge of honor and a mark of our national sovereignty. Don’t forget, what goes around, comes around. The blowback from your endless sanctions will be fascinating to behold.

    Finally, a note to the world’s religious leaders: you invented the notion of a “just” war, likely to accommodate the kings and princes of earlier times who wanted some fig leaf to justify what would otherwise be cast as sheer piracy, plunder or smash and grab theft. Time to finally live up to your platitudes, gentlemen. Francis, whaddya got to lose at this point? Your press has not exactly been inspirational because of scandals we need not relitigate here. Do something that will please more than just the entrenched elites and speak out against the out-of-control warmongering by a braggart bullyboy country that struts around acting exactly like some “Great Satan.” How could you have stomached what Washington imposed upon Argentina (your country) in the form of Galtieri? Don’t encourage them to do the same to Venezuela by holding your tongue. All they have are despots, guns and money. All CAN be brought down some day by speaking the truth. Try it.

    • Sam F
      June 16, 2019 at 17:46

      Very true, and a good suggestion for religious leaders including the Pope. Perhaps there is some balance he perceives? Hard to believe that it is worth the lack of moral criticism. Silence is speaking for them all.

    • David
      June 17, 2019 at 17:46

      Thanks for such a great comment.

  14. Abe
    June 16, 2019 at 03:11

    Given Trump-Bolton-Pompeo’s unambiguously pro-Israel Lobby regime-change agenda for Iran, why are CN contributors continuing to piddle half-assed versions of events?

    Dear CN editor, please require contributors to directly inform readers about pro-Israel Lobby groups and figures.

    • Zhu
      June 17, 2019 at 06:19

      Well, that would require them to talk about Christian Zionism, Dispensationalism, the 38th chapter of Ezekiel and generally a whole lot of stuff they (and you) don’t want to learn. It’s much easier to just repeat clichés and factoids, blame scapegoats, etc.

    • Abe
      June 17, 2019 at 13:25

      The pro-Israel Lobby involves both Jewish and Christian Zionists.

      Donald Trump’s efforts on behalf of Israel began immediately after the election, prior to his taking the oath of office. His administration has aggressively pursued the pro-Israel Lobby agenda of conflict with Iran.

      John Bolton owes his job to the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) and Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, the biggest individual donors to the GOP in the 2018 election cycle and to the Trump campaign in 2016. The Adelsons had long promoted Bolton for a top foreign-policy position once they moved to support Trump’s presidential candidacy in the spring of 2016.

      The pro-Israel Lobby organizations and their Washington swamp monsters like Trump, Pompeo, and Bolton just repeat clichés and factoids, blame scapegoats, etc.

      Mike Pompeo has worn his Christian evangelical faith on his sleeve with, among other things, his references to The Rapture. The ardent Zionism of Protestant evangelical leaders derives from a peculiar British 16th-century interpretation of the Book of Revelations. The Christian Zionist camp of the pro-Israel Lobby has consistently supported Netanyahu’s belligerence and threats against Iran.

      People do want to learn. That’s what real journalism is about.

      Yes, it’s a whole lot of stuff, but try to keep up, Zhu. The rest of us are.

  15. Abe
    June 16, 2019 at 02:42

    “The Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), a spin-off the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, is an influential beltway think tank whose members have advocated a host of hawkish, ‘pro-Israel’ policies over the years. It is considered a core member of the ‘Israel lobby,’ a constellation of policy and advocacy groups devoted to pushing an Israel-centric U.S. agenda in the Middle East. […]

    “At a September 2012 briefing advocating U.S.-Israeli cooperation to prevent ‘an Iranian nuclear breakout,’ WINEP research director Patrick Clawson raised eyebrows when he appeared to suggest that the United States manufacture a situation that would require Washington to take military action against Iran in the event that negotiations over its nuclear program failed. ‘I frankly think that crisis initiation is really tough,’ Clawson said. ‘And it’s very hard for me to see how the … president can get us to war with Iran.’

    “He then went on to recount a series of incidents in American history – like the Gulf of Tonkin incident and the attack on Pearl Harbor – that gave U.S. presidents the justification needed to go to war. He ended by saying, with a note of sarcasm in his voice, ‘So, if in fact the Iranians aren’t going to compromise, it would be best if somebody else started the war.’

    “Observers noted that Clawson, instead of debating the merits of military intervention or its potential impact, narrowly focused on drumming up ways to force the United States to intervene. Retired colonel and former intelligence officer Patrick Lang quipped on Clawson’s remarks: ‘Isn’t this kind of thing somehow a violation of federal law?”‘


  16. June 16, 2019 at 02:37

    Trump has been looking for a way to get us into a war as he thinks it will increase his chances of being reelected. I ain’t falling for it.

  17. Robert Mayer
    June 16, 2019 at 01:25

    2 add2 my comments below… BigLike2 JMG re: timing 2coincide w/ USSen vote… & Cit One: agree interesting coincidence Bolton & Pompous doughboy attack oil independant nations…
    +Recent developments in Brazil instruct us HOW CORRUPT these rtwing admins are Worldwide… equivalent2 GOP do ANYTHING 2 Secure Objective: Make$$$ by Conning Cits!

  18. Robert Mayer
    June 16, 2019 at 00:39

    Tnx CN, Caitlin… Immediate response: WARNING WARNING!!! USS Liberty replay… As this commenter mentioned re: recent CN story on above incident… WHICH nation was 1st accused of attack on above vessel? Perhaps my memory of Mediterranean ship is faulty… I’m NotYoung nomo’ & Miss My Usedta be Lazer Mind… BUT… Remember attack blaming Iran… Other commenters correct RM if wrong Tnx yall

  19. Milad
    June 15, 2019 at 23:02

    It was Saudi Arabia.

  20. Kiwiantz
    June 15, 2019 at 21:36

    Wherever you see any sort of conflict or blatant criminality & lawlessness around the Globe, one thing is absolutely guaranteed? What is that thing, you may ask yourself? It is the foul, contemptuous & once invisible but now out in the open, American Hand in every one of these conflicts, creating chaos, interference & stoking & fanning the flames of War & destruction! Not content with turning its own Country into a cesspool it now is exporting its disaster capitalism model to other Nations to emulate its death cult example? From China to Venuzuela & Iraq to Syria & beyond, this evil Nation thinks it has the right to dictate to other Countries how they should conduct their affairs & is prepared to threaten, sanction & invade to sell other Nations assets & resources via Corporate theft & using its MIC as Mafia hitman? Just bugger off & slink back to your own debt ridden, money counterfeiting Country & sort out your own mess & leave the World alone! Enough is enough!

    • Sam F
      June 16, 2019 at 17:53

      A good cry from afar, and these must be heard, but recall that the same tyranny prevails in the US, keeping the population completely dependent economically and completely deceived by mass media. Many here will be glad when the cesspool is cleared. Why not have NZ embargo the US? It would be a fine example and a good start.

  21. dean 1000
    June 15, 2019 at 20:36

    That blurry video looks phony not only because its blurry but b/c the camera operator didn’t pan to the right to get the ship’s name.

    The most exceptional country in all the universe has satellites that can read license plate numbers.
    Why didn’t the ever vigilant always exceptional country zoom the satellite camera(s) in to get face
    recognition video, a clear shot of the alleged limpet mine, then zoom out a tad to get the ship’s name and the boat’s ID in one shot?
    Would it be conduct unbecoming an exceptional country if at least one of those high flying jet powered drones wasn’t taking video in circles as tight as Puff the Magic Dragon can fly?

    Other countries and a few corporations have satellite cameras that will do the same. How many others got clear video? When will it be released? How much will it cost to keep the video secret? Will Wikileaks get the real video?

  22. Abe
    June 15, 2019 at 20:14

    “In their 2009 paper, ‘Which Path to Persia?: Options for a New American Strategy Toward Iran’, the corporate-financier funded Brookings Institution would first admit the complications of US-led military aggression against Iran (emphasis added):

    “‘…any military operation against Iran will likely be very unpopular around the world and require the proper international context—both to ensure the logistical support the operation would require and to minimize the blowback from it. ‘

    “The paper then lays out how the US could appear to the world as a peacemaker and depict Iran’s betrayal of a ‘very good deal’ as the pretext for an otherwise reluctant US military response:

    “‘The best way to minimize international opprobrium and maximize support (however, grudging or covert) is to strike only when there is a widespread conviction that the Iranians were given but then rejected a superb offer—one so good that only a regime determined to acquire nuclear weapons and acquire them for the wrong reasons would turn it down. Under those circumstances, the United States (or Israel) could portray its operations as taken in sorrow, not anger, and at least some in the international community would conclude that the Iranians ‘brought it on themselves’ by refusing a very good deal.’

    “And from 2009 onward, this is precisely what the United States set out to achieve.

    “First with President Obama’s signing of the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal, up to and including President Trump’s attempts to backtrack from it based on fabricated claims Iran failed to honor the agreement.

    “The 2009 policy paper also discussed ‘goading’ Iran into war, claiming:

    “‘With provocation, the international diplomatic and domestic political requirements of an invasion [of Iran] would be mitigated, and the more outrageous the Iranian provocation (and the less that the United States is seen to be goading Iran), the more these challenges would be diminished. In the absence of a sufficiently horrific provocation, meeting these requirements would be daunting.’

    “Unmentioned directly, but also an obvious method for achieving Washington’s goal of provoking war with Iran would be the US simply staging an ‘Iranian provocation’ itself.

    “As the US had done in Vietnam following the Gulf of Tonkin incident, or US fabrications regardings ‘weapons of mass destruction’ Washington claimed Iraq held in its possession, the US has a clear track record of not just simply provoking provocations, but staging them itself.

    “The Brookings paper even admits to the unlikelihood of Iran falling into Washington’s trap, lamenting (emphasis added):

    “‘…it is certainly the case that if Washington sought such a provocation, it could take actions that might make it more likely that Tehran would do so (although being too obvious about this could nullify the provocation). However, since it would be up to Iran to make the provocative move, which Iran has been wary of doing most times in the past, the United States would never know for sure when it would get the requisite Iranian provocation. In fact, it might never come at all.’

    “The alleged sabotaging of oil tankers off the shore of the UAE in May and now additional ‘attacks’ this month could be the beginning of a series of staged provocations aimed at leveraging the recent listing of the IRGC as a ‘terrorist organization’ coupled with increased economic pressure as a result of US sanctions re-initiated after the US’ own withdrawal from the Iran Deal.”

    Convenient “Tanker Attacks” as US Seeks War with Iran
    By Tony Cartalucci

  23. MEexpert
    June 15, 2019 at 17:11

    I have always thought of Pompeo as nothing but a bar room bouncer.

    June 15, 2019 at 15:54

    Trump–Pompeo–Bolton—The Lying Trio—Puppets of the corporate criminals–pulling their strings—

  25. LJ
    June 15, 2019 at 13:42

    8th reason, Because it’s pure BullShit. If the US has ever had two more bald faced liars than Pompeo and Bolton in their positions well we shouldn’t have. Dick Cheney would blush at such an overreach. The decrepit anti- intellectual powers behind the scene must have taken too many male enhancement pills. Where are the Democrats on this. Speak up Warren, Bernie,Harris,Beano, ect.

  26. Jeff Harrison
    June 15, 2019 at 12:49

    The US needs to actually start paying attention. In the last several years especially, the US (and our vassal states in the EU) have been blatantly cheating, lying, and generally trying to wrest control of the narrative from reality. E.g. MH17. Russia was, of course, prevented from offering testimony and evidence as well as reviewing the evidence presented to the Dutch investigating body. Red flags should be popping up all over the place for that kind of blatant narrative fixing, but of course not in the MSM. But the Dutch couldn’t fool the Malaysians (who also were prevented from being a part of the review) who rejected the Dutch court of inquiry findings. Bellingcat, the attack dog of the Atlantic Council (aka NATO’s propaganda wing) asked why Malaysia wasn’t accepting their (Bellingcat’s) conclusion. Answer: The Russian government, the Ukrainian government, and the Ukrainian rebels all had that flavor of missile. You have provided no evidence that the Russians fired the missile.

    In this instance, the German FM has already said that our pix of the Iranian vessel is inadequate to demonstrate that Iran attacked the ships.This will be another instance where the US narrative will fail as it did in Douma, Syria and as a freebee, OPCWs reputation got totally destroyed although the US MSM probably won’t notice that either.

    • CitizenOne
      June 15, 2019 at 17:55

      When you say the United States needs to start paying attention do you mean the truth? Because that’s not gonna happen. We are dangerously close to the end of our republic with doubts about its future coming from far and wide. What might the end look like? Well, already the Administration is trying to start WWIII every day. I don’t believe they have but a handful of countries that are not angry at us or watch with incredulity how close we are to a violent end.

      There are many theories how explosions happen on boats. History has the example of the Spanish American war which pretty much everyone today agrees was just a false flag to ignite the will of the American people to go on a little imperialist conquest. But what the heck, every western nation (or most) was doing that. The French, the Portuguese, English, Dutch, Spain etc.

      So why do I say “that is not going to happen?”. Because it never has and it never will. It does not matter which nation in which century you look at that you will find that nation in a war at some point in that period of time. War is future proof for whatever reason and it is technology driven in that it makes maximum use of technology. In fact it drives it. We might as well realize we are powerless to prevent it we can only win it or lose it.

      America has been a huge if not the hugest winner on the planet since its founding. We believe we will always be the winners no matter what we do. The problem with American exceptionalism is we haven’t really won anything since WWII. We have actually lost. The biggest loss since WWII is our loss of respect around the world. As the world teeters and tries to find a new balancing point with the weight of US policy greatly lessened in importance we are resorting to relying more and more on all the tactics we have always used to help our foreign affairs in order to keep the current alignment of nations as they have been since WWII.

      It won’t work. Why because we are an unreliable unstable war making pariah nation and Trump is only reinforcing that image. Why would any nation sign an agreement with Trump full well knowing that he has and will just tear them up all over the place based on a whim or some quid pro quo with a special interest.

      If we think we can threaten every nation with unprovoked attacks and sanctions like has happened as a means of control over other nations we will have a big challenge. One we may not win.

      • Sam F
        June 15, 2019 at 20:22

        I think Jeff may agree. The US must have foreign challenges in which it fails, as we need broad foreign losses and embargoes against the US, to discredit oligarchy and restore democracy, if that is possible.

      • Sylvia
        June 16, 2019 at 04:27

        The end of the USA needs to come SOON before it’s the end the planet!

        How much longer will the USA citizens keep allowing their corrupt government to peddle wars and regime change?

        Get your yellow vests on and bloody well stand up!

  27. Jeff Davis
    June 15, 2019 at 10:31

    As to Pompeo. He has a certain spiritually ugly demeanor. Humorless, and utterly unembarrassed by the falseness and ridiculousness of his pronouncements.

    I see him as a cross between Baghdad Bob and John Wayne Gacy.

    • CitizenOne
      June 15, 2019 at 20:44

      What he is is the darling of the oil industry and now it’s payback time for all the money they gave him over the last 10 years. Pompeo received over a million dollars from oil and gas companies to run his campaigns and is searching high and low and using every sneaky unscrupulous tactic to goad nations into war especially those with oil so the oil companies can cash in. There is no doubt his focus on Venezuela and Iran are about oil and the corporations that have put him where he is.

      I get that oil is a strategic objective, national interest, economic necessity, necessary for our current economy and also necessary for the defense of the nation. But it is not a long term strategy for our security or for the long term health of the planet. As long as we think we are in the position that we have to wage wars for oil and we ignore the long term negative consequences for the human population of the planet by continuing our course we will lose more than we could ever possibly hope to gain.

      • jmg
        June 16, 2019 at 10:27

        CitizenOne wrote: “Pompeo received over a million dollars from oil and gas companies to run his campaigns . . . There is no doubt his focus on Venezuela and Iran are about oil and the corporations that have put him where he is.”

        Exactly. Oil, arms, power, etc.

        World’s largest oil reserves by country:

        1. Venezuela – 300,878 million barrels
        2. Saudi Arabia – 266,455 million barrels
        3. Canada – 169,709 million barrels
        4. Iran – 158,400 million barrels
        5. Iraq – 142,503 million barrels
        6. Kuwait – 101,500 million barrels
        7. United Arab Emirates – 97,800 million barrels
        8. Russia – 80,000 million barrels
        9. Libya – 48,363 million barrels
        10. United States – 39,230 million barrels

        • Sam F
          June 17, 2019 at 21:41

          I don’t think you can find any case since 1953 where the US has obtained oil by force at less than market price. See my comment below. Oligarchs will steal anything, but they make nothing trying to steal oil.

          • jmg
            June 18, 2019 at 06:31

            Sam, as I said, “oil, arms, power, etc.” The military-industrial complex and the deep state have multiple goals of wealth, power, domination, etc. The strategic importance of oil is just part of those. For example, for Iraq, an also primary goal:

            “The primary impetus for invading Iraq, according to those attending NSC briefings on the Gulf in this period, was to make an example of Hussein, to create a demonstration model to guide the behavior of anyone with the temerity to acquire destructive weapons or, in any way, flout the authority of the United States.”
            — Ron Suskind: “The One Percent Doctrine”

            And, while we’re at it, also Iraq’s oil:

            “People say we’re not fighting for oil. Of course we are.”
            — Senator Chuck Hagel

            “Of course it’s about oil, it’s very much about oil and we can’t really deny that.”
            — General John Abizaid, CENTCOM (Middle East) commander 2003-2007

            Etc., etc.

            You can find information on the massive profits for American corporations (oil, arms, etc.) — such as Dick Cheney’s Halliburton — from Iraq and other wars.

            Or for the UK, see the Independent newspaper’s report “Secret memos expose link between oil firms and invasion of Iraq”.

            And now the same goes on:

            “We’re in conversation with major American companies now. I think we’re trying to get to the same end result here. . . . It will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies really invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela.”
            — John Bolton, 2019

          • Sam F
            June 18, 2019 at 12:26

            Hagel would say whatever sells zionist policy. As would Abizaid, as an excuse after WMDgate.
            Cheney and Halliburton profited from war anywhere, but not oil.

            No doubt the unusual oil resource of Venezuela tempts the fool warmongers, but they can’t just steal it. The last time that worked was in 1953, but everyone knows about that gambit now, and nowhere are there “oil concessions” to be had by deals with dictators, even our dictators. Even our Brazilian puppet warns us against invasion of Venezuela.

            Oil is an excuse to implement the zionist imperialist plan for the Mideast. If we abandoned that, oil prices would stabilize, supplies would increase a bit, and all but the zionists would be happy.

      • Sam F
        June 17, 2019 at 21:36

        No, “it’s the oil” is really not correct except in the early 20th century, mostly for Britain.

        There are bribes in oil, but it has not been stolen by foreign wars since 1953 when the US overthrew democracy in Iran to substitute the dictatorship of the Shah. The US got essentially none of Iraq’s oil, and none for less than the market price. There is no oil in Afghanistan and not much in Syria, and the US gets none for less than the market price. The US can buy oil from anyone at about the same price, like anyone else, and has no more need for Mideast wars than we need to bomb the local gas station to secure the supply.

        Saudi Arabia was never threatened by Iran or anyone else; there was never any need to “defend” oil supplies.

        No, the US Mideast wars are wars for Israel and nothing else; the MIC will attack any small country.

        Venezuela’s oil no doubt tempts the oil operatives, but they failed to get it semi-peacefully, and all of South America opposes a US invasion.

        “It’s the oil” is the zionist propaganda line, and we should educate the public about that.

        • CitizenOne
          June 18, 2019 at 00:25

          I disagree. It is all about oil. The oldest axiom of investigations of crime is to follow the money that will lead to the prime suspects. Of course the US cannot dictate the price for a freely available commodity like oil. The US is capable of manipulating the price with war and threats of war. Economic sanctions also are key for denying oil rich nations the means to profit from their oil. Economic sanctions have virtually halted the flow of Venezuelan oil and with the new economic sanctions directed at nations that buy Iranian oil we are putting a squeeze on the economy of Iran indirectly. What we are doing is tying up loose ends like the ability of other nations to skirt sanctions and deal directly with Iran to procure oil. These secondary sanctions against other nations in combination with direct sanctions against Iran mete out penalties for nations seeking to deal with Iran outside of the framework of direct sanctions we have applied to Iran.

          There is little doubt that the first Iraq war was all about denying Iraq access to Kuwait’s oil after Iraq invaded Kuwait. The first priority of US forces after the second invasion of Iraq was also all about oil. It was certainly not about all the BS about WMD and false accusations that Saddam was behind 9/11 and was in bed with Al Qaida. The first priority was to secure Iraq’s oil fields, extinguish the fires, cap the wells etc. Many US soldiers in Iraq told stories about how they were there to guard the oil wells.

          Our support for Israel is complex in nature but there is no doubt that we view it as a strategic partner of the USA to keep a permanent presence in the region with a country that shares western values that also is a key piece in the arsenal to prevent soviet era proxy states from dominating the politics of Mideast oil rich nations. Ultimately Israel is seen as a key partner for the US to keep the Mideast free from foreign domination. We have never even considered any other reason.

          It is a historical fact that since oil was discovered in the Mideast, that western nations most notably the British and Americans acted to dominate the region with their primary objective being control of the oil fields. They rightly saw that objective as crucial to the economies as well as the defense of their nations. They had the requirement to deny the Soviets access and influence in the region. To the extent that the Soviets successfully created proxy states friendly to the Soviet Union USSR the US developed plans to reduce those states to rubble and rebuild them in a suitable manner to further US geopolitical interests chiefly being the supply of oil.

          • Sam F
            June 18, 2019 at 12:14

            But the West has not succeeded in stealing oil since 1953, so why destabilize the producer region?
            That would not be following the realized money.
            Nor was there foreign domination to fear: the USSR never sought a Mideast presence in the generations since WWII.
            There is still no foreign domination issue: China and Russia buy and sell what they wish there.
            The Kuwait situation did not threaten the US oil supply: oil has to be sold whomever owns it.
            So your argument would reduce to:
            1. Some US interests keep trying to steal oil even though they never get any;
            2. Some oil price speculators make trouble to create price dips to exploit;
            3. The MIC will attack any country but sees Mideast opportunities because others do;
            4. MSM keeps fearmongering about protecting supplies for other reasons (always Israel);
            So it doesn’t persuade me that anyone realistically sees oil as the major reason for US Mideast troublemaking.
            We would do a lot better to stay out and buy oil as others do.

          • Skip Scott
            June 24, 2019 at 07:33

            “..so why destabilize the producer region?” They do so because the wrong people are making money off the sale of the crude oil. Saudi Arabia is not destabilized. Canada is not destabilized. Only countries who have nationalized the crude oil revenue are destabilized, namely Iran and Venezuela. It is capitalism vs. socialism. No nation will ever be allowed to use revenue from it’s natural resources to benefit its own citizens, the revenue must flow into the “proper” hands.

    • June 16, 2019 at 08:21

      Yup. My idol is Colin Powell, his speech to UN was a masterpiece of proper demeanor, deep voice, steady gaze, and mature reassuring looks. It is said state of lying that there is nobody in this Administration in that league.

    • David
      June 17, 2019 at 17:50

      As a Psych major, your comments are perfect.

  28. Brian James
    June 15, 2019 at 10:14

    Jun 15, 2019 US Blames Tanker Attacks on Iran | NEO Review

    Desperately seeking war with Iran for over two decades – and at the height of tensions Washington intentionally created with Tehran – the US now claims a series of tanker attacks near the Strait of Hormuz was the work of Iranian forces.


  29. June 15, 2019 at 10:04

    I truly believe that any incident in the world is down to US…

  30. vinnieoh
    June 15, 2019 at 09:51

    Everything that Pompeo has said in the last few days has been , to put it mildly, empty hot air. Referring to Caitlin’s piece posted here yesterday wrt propaganda: Pompeo assumes that the previous tanker “attack” of a month ago which he again – with absolutely no proof and even less logic – blamed on Iran, is now ensconced in the official narrative, and hence proves Iran did it. Surreal.

    The rest of what he said attempts to make this look like a sophisticated, highly intricate operation. Nothing could be further from the truth. Limpet mines, if that is what caused the damage, are anything but “sophisticated” or beyond the reach of a hundred different factions, and it would take neither sophistication nor intricate planning to make or deploy them. Thinking about this yesterday it occurred to me that it would probably be a fairly simple matter to equip such mines with GPS receivers that could trigger them when they arrived within a certain window of lat/long.

    And speaking of factions: Caitlin’s piece of yesterday prompted me to do some more investigation of MEK. It’s widely known that many US functionaries (most notably and visibly Bolton) have been paid handsomely for speaking at MEK events. I asked myself where MEK’s money comes from. Turns out others have asked the same question. From the end of the Iran/Iraq war until the US Iraq invasion of ’03 Sadam was their sole lavish financial supporter. After that it has been KSA that has clandestinely, through black market means in the region that has been funding them to the tune of millions of $’s.

    I listened to Pompeo and didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, it was so preposterous. Most “statesmen” (and he hardly qualifies as such) would have been embarrassed to spout the erroneous, unfounded nonsense that he did. Pompeo has all the subtlety and wit of a rusty spanner wrench.

    If that wasn’t enough, he tipped his hand by saying that the Iranians did this to insult the Japanese. He wanted to make sure we all “get it.” It’s more likely the US and it’s proxies are sending a message to Japan not to break ranks with their US master. Scanning news feeds the last several days, several US news services are trying to fabricate the narrative that the entire meeting between Abe and Khamenei was acrimonious. It was not, but it hasn’t stopped some from trying to fabricate that narrative.

    • CitizenOne
      June 15, 2019 at 14:03

      Also this is a pattern repeated many times. Recently all the hot air was blowing down on Venezuela until they fooled Pompeo into only thinking he had achieved the coup he planned in order to ferret out rebel supporters uh I mean the unelected rightful owners of the country.

      The pattern is economic strangulation followed by a final overthrow of the government. The reason is the same. Oil. Specifically, oil that western oil conglomerates are not profiting from and just represent a place where money flows other than their pockets. Sanctions that claim to have a punitive impact only heighten misery for the population. The plan is to so depress the economy that the citizens will help with the coup. Not only that it works. But never fool yourself that a government willing to place millions of people in sometimes starvation conditions is going to overthrow a government to restore freedom and peace. That has never happened.

      Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception.”

      ? Mark Twain, The Mysterious Stranger and Other Stories

      • vinnieoh
        June 15, 2019 at 15:35

        Here in the west, and especially in the US, the narrative is that the Iranian Islamic revolution of ’79 represents the rise of radical fundamentalist religious autocracy. I’m not Iranian, but I’d bet that most Iranians view that event as “Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, free at last” from the vassal status and exploitation of international colonialism. They will not go back, no matter how beggarly and desperate the US tries to make them. Neither will Venezuela that, despite the incomplete reforms the Bolivarian revolution were able to accomplish, empowered many indigenous that previously had no voice. Likewise for Cuba.

        Madeline Albright, of all people, wrote years after the fact that the ’53 Iranian coup was the worst failure of US policy in her lifetime. She wrote that of course before the ’03 invasion of Iraq.

        • Sam F
          June 15, 2019 at 20:07

          Probably you know that the US supported militant Islamic subversion of democratic, moderate, and secular Mideast governments since before 1953, and was the primary cause of trouble there after Israel. There was no threat to US oil supply, nor any “threat” of communism.
          See Dreyfuss’ Devil’s Game (except that due to his ancestry, he never mentions the role of Israel).

          • vinnieoh
            June 16, 2019 at 12:12

            Lots of holes in my knowledge, and all references are appreciated. I would expect that it’s foundational to US “counter-insurgency” to exploit local and regional factionalism and sectarianism. Of course empire doesn’t treat with democracies and there’s nothing uniquely American about that. There’s a phrase several writers have used recently that perfectly captures the moment: “and the empire wholly swallows the Republic.”

      • Realist
        June 16, 2019 at 04:19

        Mark Twain was prescient, but probably even he could not envisage how far the maniacs in Washington would take the art of war and international thuggery.

        Do the self-declared patriots (really stone cold murdering criminals) ever ask themselves, after delivering their grandiose claims and transparently false narratives, is anybody in the general population of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan or the other third world and still developing countries actually better off today, after the glorious American slaughterhouse we’ve made of those countries, than they were before?

        Would the millions of dead, maimed and permanently displaced choose the current reality over the status quo before Washington barged into their countries with guns blazing? Has it ever worked out that America improved the lives of the people we targeted in Korea, Vietnam, Panama, Central America, Congo, Mali and out of the way places we don’t even know about? How about the victims of “collateral damage” in Laos and Cambodia, where, you know, the war just happened to spill over?

        And how does one ascribe guilt over murders committed by strongmen we merely put in power after helping overthrow their governments? I’m thinking of the likes of the mass murderers Pinochet and Galtieri for whom we cleared out Salvador Allende (in Chile) and Isabel Peron (in Argentina). Some of that Chilean mess actually spilled over onto the streets of Washington were Allende diehards were assassinated with the complicity of our freedom-loving intel agencies. If you are still young you might not remember Operation Condor.

        Can our freed0m-loving thugs actually state with a straight face that they made the world a better place after their vast wars or more limited purges (only 60,000 are thought to have been killed in the Condor extermination campaign)? Absolutely anything goes if the imperium that rules America behind the scenes wants it done. If they can kill so extensively and without compunction outside our borders, just think what they would be capable of in an actual civil insurrection within this country. Move over mein Fuehrer, there’s a new boss in town. His identity might be a total surprise (don’t assume it would be anyone in the present administration).

        How much further can the plausible scenarios spiral down until hitting the dynamite?

  31. MichaelWme
    June 15, 2019 at 09:33

    Flynn was fired, earliest a National Security adviser was ever fired, because he took money from Russia in 2015. Russia was curious about Trump, and flew his adviser Flynn to Moscow where they interviewed him for about an hour (and the interview is on YouTube). Given that al-Qaeda is supported by Saudi Arabia, Russia was curious what Trump’s foreign policy would be. Flynn said Trump would fight terror by forcing regime change in Iran. Russia found that statement someone contradictory to the actual facts, but there it was.

    President Trump has information Candidate Trump did not. He tweeted that, if the DPRK did not surrender, he’d nuke them. Then he met Kim and now he says he achieved a complete victory and he and Kim are BFF.

    Trump has also tweeted that, if Iran does not surrender, he will destroy Iran completely.

    But Trump tweets a lot of covfefe. Had the College chosen Secretary Clinton, she promised regime change in Russia on Day 1, and I believe she was telling the truth, and that would have been her first and last regime change.

    Trump, so far, hasn’t started a single new shooting war, just trade wars and Twitter Wars. Both far preferable to new shooting wars, which every president since Reagan had started before this point in their presidency. So there’s still hope. Not much, but a little.

    Trump might have been told that Iran is no Grenada or Panama or Afghanistan or Iraq or Libya, it has a lot of mobile missiles that are well hidden, and Iran has promised the entire US fleet will be at the bottom of the Gulf of Oman minutes after a US attack starts, and Riyadh and Tel Aviv will be in flames. Iran might be completely destroyed, but Iran can take a lot down with it. Are Trump and Netanyahu and MbS really willing to trade Tel Aviv and Riyadh for Iran?

    Let’s hope Trump spends the next year and a half on trade wars and Twitter wars, and all his attacks on Iran are covfefe. That’s the only hope we have.

  32. June 15, 2019 at 07:31

    Almost two decades of horrific mess of Middle East since Bush II, Obama! Pompeo a Bible thumper–where’s separation of church and state (pray, prey)? Pompeo got into government via GOP Tea Party Kansas Koch brothers money manipulation of system. Bolton, fanatical neocon chickenhawk with dual US-Israel citizenship, big player in getting Bush II to lie about Saddam and Iraq! Julian Assange in UK jail for truth telling? What justice?!

    • vinnieoh
      June 15, 2019 at 10:57

      You should have included the first US Gulf War “Desert Storm” in your list. Many details about that campaign don’t stand up to close scrutiny either. The almost ten year war between Iran and Iraq left both sides exhausted. However, Iran (due to the Islamic revolution) had few international friends and financiers. Iraq had many – the US and other western governments and the gulf emirates – and when that war ended Iran was depleted but Iraq had been almost completely re-armed by those financial supporters. Sadam began to view himself as the ascendant regional hegemon and was supporting Palestinian causes and factions, and for this reason was targeted for elimination. Also, that US Saint and Machiavellian spymaster GHW Bush stated that at long last the US was free of “the Viet Nam syndrome” and the great exceptional US empire was freed from the constraints of its previous utter failure of policy, militarism, and morality. USA! USA! USA!

  33. jmg
    June 15, 2019 at 06:36

    Additional reason: arms sales.

    Senators Switched Key Votes On Gulf Arms Ban Hours After Tanker Attacks

    • vinnieoh
      June 15, 2019 at 11:35

      Thank you for noticing and relating that fact. Proves what I said that the narrative is only necessary to provide cover for those in positions of responsibility to do what they have been programmed to do.

      It has also escaped comment here and elsewhere that China just recently sold ballistic missiles to KSA. This is not rumor but fact, and China openly defends this sale. Why? Perhaps because they perceived a crack in the US/KSA alliance. The tidbit you supplied acknowledges that this has now been rectified in the Court of the Crimson King.

  34. Zhu
    June 15, 2019 at 06:08

    Gulf of Tonkin, WMDs, all over again. Pompeo can talk about Jesus back to Rapture the Righteous away, too.

    Pretty soon, they’ll discover that Hitler is on Iran!

  35. john wilson
    June 15, 2019 at 05:21

    We regularly here the US boast that it can read a number plate from space and track just about anything travelling from a to b on the earth. Why, then, if they are able to show this rather poor video of the boat and crew removing mines from the oil tanker were the Americans not able to track the boat and see where it came from? One might also ask why in this day and age is the small boat being shown in black and white? Its also worth bearing in mind that there is an aircraft carrier in the gulf as well lots of other very sophisticated US military hardware. Its the US who are showing us their video, so it seems strange to me that the US are not able to tell us where this boat came from, or at least where it went to.

    • Dr Colgate
      June 16, 2019 at 08:36

      I’ve read somewhere that the CIA / Mossad were caught trying to purchase an Iranian gunship style vessel the month prior to this faux-ttack. Only reported in eastern-Euro news, not something you’ll hear about on CNN -Fox in the US.
      When one can determine the flavor of mojito David Ortiz had, along with identifying the 10 assailants via facial recognition, I have to assume the US has at least as good if not better imaging from such a contentious hot spot…especially since they have been deploying troops (incl friends and relatives of my own) for the past year in increasing numbers. “They” can track anybody at anytime, yet the only Intel from this rescue vessel is the 20 sec clip or still released to the public.
      President Trump is primarily concerned with the economy, and making Americans happy enough to vote him in for another term. Not sure when rolling down the escalator 4 years ago today he had Iran on his mind. Not true for Pompeo and Bolton. With the MSM backed deep state chronic harrassment of any non club admin pick, the only players willing to take the jobs Pompeo and Bolton hold are deep state plants. Normal citizenry and businessmen fear hitjobs by the press, so Pres Trump only has a limited pool of nafarious chroneys to choose from, as recommended by the chroneys that snuck in and make up his advisors. In other words, his team will allow him to work on his goals and ideals, as long as he allows the Pompeos and Bolton’s to control foreign policy. Folks like Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnel were/are the gate keepers…allowing Trump to win some in the economic realm (not enough to pass the people’s phase of the two part Corp tax cuts), while the deep state implants can run amuck and get whatever they want – supported by the elites deep within both parties.
      Big government is a broken system. Oversight and accountability where it really matters is replaced with a topical farce parade. Mike and John get to start world shaking wars while the fake Dems revolt on TV against the same thing they supported two years ago, and so are the days of our lives soap show plays on

  36. Allan Millard
    June 15, 2019 at 01:51

    Caitlin Johnstone could have added several more reasons to doubt. For example, there is no evidence that the regime in Iran is now or ever has been suicidal. Another might be that weighing what Pompeo says against what his Iranian counterpart says on any given day about the same subject leads to invidious conclusions about Pompeo. And yet another might be to recall that Iran has about 200 years of not attacking others. And the USA?

    • Thomas Bratt
      June 15, 2019 at 04:32

      The Us Gov was behind 9/11. It’s called false flagging. You attack yourself or an allie and then blame someone else.

      • druid
        June 17, 2019 at 13:41

        That was Mossad and dual-loyalists all the way!!!!!!!!

    • Geraldo Lino
      June 15, 2019 at 10:35

      As a rule of thum, one should be ever suspicious of someone capable of insulting everyone’s intelligence by explaining that ridiculous blurry video on the Iranian sailors supposedly “removing an unexploded mine” – a mine above the water level? Please, give us a break!

  37. bob
    June 15, 2019 at 01:46

    I hate amerika

  38. Tom Kath
    June 15, 2019 at 00:44

    My father grew up in nazi Germany and taught us 3 basic rules about how to interpret the news media. – Always ask yourself
    1/ Why this? (of all the millions of happenings in the world)
    2/ Why now? (There is always some strategic reason that you are being focused on this at this time)
    3/ Why in this way? (Any occurrence can be presented to make someone appear favourably or unfavourably)

    The nazi press was no better than our MSM at teaching us this.

    • Anonymous
      June 15, 2019 at 10:40

      While your father is right, the current attitude is that such questioning is paranoia and the product of mental illness rather than basic critical thinking. His words had an effect on you, but how many will listen in light of a much louder (and more threatening) opinion telling them to shut down and conform?

  39. Joe S.
    June 15, 2019 at 00:19

    I don’t know how they expect us to buy the narrative of Iran wishing to bomb a Japanese tanker as Japan is attempting to overstep US’s ridiculous sanctions and develop business ties with Iran.

    This makes me believe they were not only attempting a false flag, but also sending Japan a message in the process.

    • June 15, 2019 at 02:35

      Yes, indeed.

      And there are so many issues with American claims, quite apart from assuming the sensible general attitude to remain skeptical about everything Washington says these days.

      The record for dishonesty and being caught-out is now approaching embarrassing levels.

      See my summary points on what we know:


    • Zhu
      June 15, 2019 at 06:24

      Stupidity is always a better explanation than conspiracy – Historians’ proverb.

      • anon
        June 15, 2019 at 19:36

        So everyone the US wants to bomb is so stupid they must have done the absurd US-staged provocation.

    • TomG
      June 15, 2019 at 08:53

      Very good point!

    • CitizenOne
      June 15, 2019 at 12:39

      Exactly. The fact that the media (all of it) never asks the obvious questions like the one you raised or, “Why would Assad have gassed his people multiple times, immediately after Trump made public statements that he was withdrawing from Syria?” or “What if the Bush administration just let 9/11 happen to ignite their plans for war as envisioned in the Dick Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz approved PNAC plans which specifically called for preemptive wars in Iraq, Iran, Syria and North Korea?”

      You might ask of the media, “Is their a trail of breadcrumbs here?” on thousands of topics and you will be talking to a wall. This is how propaganda really shines. It has incredible power to shape opinions based on exclusion of reality and its replacement with a false narrative. Even more brilliant if you can accomplish it in a “free society” or at least one that appears to be free.

      When Joseph Goebbels was asked what his vision for the ultimate media state or way of working was he said that in an ideal media state what you want is an ostensible diversity (in the news/propaganda) that conceals an actual uniformity. In other words, just like Nazi rocket scientists led us to the Moon, Nazi propaganda principles (that are actually American propaganda principles; See: Edward Bernays) have shaped and guided our media.

      This is not to say we are led by Nazis although that is surely the case for a few sympathizers. I believe these people believe they are for the most part doing it for the right reasons and in a peaceful way (here at home there are no death squads) just like NASA took the Nazi weapon of terror, the V2 Rocket, and launched a peaceful space exploration agency. Sure, the military benefited too but I’m accentuating the positive here.

      Where it all goes horribly wrong is that control is power and power leads to corruption and absolute control equals ultimate power and ultimate corruption. In other words, really bad things happen. Really really bad things. Perhaps another example is the state of official denial of man made climate change because we are pumping way too much greenhouse gasses into our atmosphere. You can watch TV big syndicate broadcasting for a long time and never here about it. They will tell you it is because it is too controversial but really? It’s kind of hard for Public Broadcasting to talk about it when it receives huge philanthropy from Koch Industries. It does not get any worse than completely screwing up the entire planet threatening the way of life enjoyed for thousands of years threatening to uproot hundreds of millions as their nations are submerged and causing billions to relocate not to mention anything else of a hundred impacts it will have. Propaganda is bad.

      It is also obvious to the astute. The propagandists leave the evidence of their craft all over the place for people willing to apply a skeptics eye and especially if they have skills. When experts in weapons are shown the claimed series of events in a chemical gas attack instantly pinned on Assad without any assignable motive other than he is both incredibly stupid and insane they come to the conclusion based on the evidence that the “facts” don’t add up and in fact the proposed event is actually not possible since any fragile organic molecule that cannot stand even slight heat would be reduced to inert ash in milliseconds in the high heat/shock of an explosives detonation. Or that even if the pictures were to be believed, why is everyone in the crater digging in the dirt with their bare hands without PPE? Or how do we know Assad did it in this way so quickly and why does the rest of the World clap and applaud our actions when we launch missiles? Why does the media refer to these missiles being launched as a beautiful sight and play endless videos of night launches with the rocket exhaust sharply illuminating the waving American flag in a Holly Wood staged event designed to cause us to immediately sing the National Anthem. (Brian Williams said the “beautiful pictures at night” tempted him to quote a line from a Leonard Cohen song: “I am guided by the beauty of our weapons.” He went on to call the images “beautiful pictures of fearsome armaments.”)

      It all looks fake. And when you dig you find out it is fake time and time again. The problem for the folks who see it is that the majority are not aware or choose to play along and fake it. Boy, there are a whole lot of those faking it out there! They do it out of fear. Many are simply terrified of questioning the “official story”. Others understand the difficulty of addressing such a large problem choose not to even bother. And then there are the gullible folks who will believe just about anything they are told by a “trusted” source.

      It is obvious that a news source should derive their reputation for truthfulness without the need to proclaim it every advertising break. But it serves a purpose. Repeat a lie often enough and eventually it will be perceived to be true. What you are watching is actually a living textbook example of a propaganda tactic. It’s kind of hard to argue that such partisan “news” is in fact balanced.

      So yeah, propaganda is everywhere and newer technology isn’t helping. I’m sure if you told Al Gore as he was busy creating the “innerweb” that it was going to do the complete opposite to people of what he thought his “series of tubes” would accomplish, he would have smartly cracked your noggin with one of his mister smarty pants tubes.

      I really think that the innerweb provides a good example of how we can never really fathom what will actually happen next or more probable it is because those that do are never heard.

      • Eddie S
        June 16, 2019 at 21:57

        “This is how propaganda really shines. It has incredible power to shape opinions based on exclusion of reality and its replacement with a false narrative. Even more brilliant if you can accomplish it in a “free society” or at least one that appears to be free.”.

        You’re spot-on about the ‘…exclusion of reality…’ part especially. A strory or narrative can be switched 180 degrees JUST by the selective omission of relevant facts. The example I always thought best illustrated that was someone saying that they knew a person who was an artistic person who was a vegetarian who loved animals and children. You think ‘Oh, sounds like a kind, gentle soul’. Then they say ‘Yeah, his name was Adolf Hitler.’ They haven’t lied (at least in the sense of telling an intentional ‘untruth’), but they’ve definitely misled and committed a ‘lie of omission’, which is one of the key propaganda tools our government employs.

  40. dasit
    June 15, 2019 at 00:08

    fire your proofreader
    it’s spelled “gulf of tonkin”

    • June 15, 2019 at 07:57

      dasit, your comment is akin to someone losing an argument and responding with you’re ugly. You could be just and English teacher used to marking papers.

  41. Don Bacon
    June 15, 2019 at 00:05

    One reason to accept Pompeo’s view.
    The U.S. has been provoking Iran with extremely aggressive and steadily tightening sanctions, which means that even if Tehran is behind the attacks, it would not be the aggressor and the attacks would most certainly not have been “unprovoked.” Economic sanctions are an act of war; if China were to do to America’s economy what America is doing to Iran’s, the U.S. would be in a hot war with China immediately. It could technically be possible that Iran is pushing back on U.S. aggressions and provocations, albeit in a strange and neoconservatively convenient fashion.

    So it possible (and likely, in my view) that Iran is reacting against US aggression, and who can blame them. Iran has said it will react, and it has. There may well be more, asymmetric Iran warfare against the Great Satan who will be powerless to react effectively.

    • Joe
      June 15, 2019 at 00:22

      Why would they take it out on a country that seems willing to overstep US’s ridiculous sanctions (Japan)? Makes absolutely no sense to attack a country willing to give the US the middle finger.

      • jeff davis
        June 15, 2019 at 10:27

        Indeed, it feels more like an attack on Japan, perhaps for daring to continue buying Iranian oil. The fact that the attack might serve to justify yet more demonization of Iran just makes the attack a twofer.

        By the way, if your avatar indicates that you are a acolyte of the culture of military worship, then it is to be expected that you would adopt the typical “warrior response”: a tendency to believe the war propaganda and favor military action, particularly when “your side” is the bulked-up bully with all the advantages. Severely discredits your position.

        • Charlene Richards
          June 16, 2019 at 00:33

          I thought nations were supposed to go to the U.N. to iron out these issues???

      • Don Bacon
        June 15, 2019 at 15:19

        >Japan has stopped importing oil from Iran, which was only 5% of its oil imports.
        >US-occupied Japan is a US puppet, Abe was just carrying a message form his master Trump, and what better way for Iran to send a message to Washington.

    • Tom Kath
      June 15, 2019 at 00:51

      Mr Shakespeare, you missed Caitlin’s point – “Even If” (Iran was responsible), “Pompeo would still be lying”.

    • June 15, 2019 at 02:56

      One of the best presentations of the kind of warfare by Iran to which you refer is found here:


      The piece is interesting, but it is one of the few times I have disagreed with the astute author and analyst.

      I just cannot buy Iran having actually done this.

      There are just too many circumstances going against it. Far too many. And why has the US already been caught in lies, such as the “mine”?

      I also see Iran’s as a fairly risk-averse government. Careful, cautious men is what they appear to be, despite years of american-Israeli propaganda about wild-eyed violence-prone radicals, propaganda extremely far from any demonstrable proof.

      If you want to see people in action ready to take huge risks for their manias, you’ve no further to look than Bolton and Netanyahu.

      Perhaps it’s just the pure hatred that appears to burn in these two that allows for pretty much of anything, believing anything for the cause is just fine. No inherent restraint to speak of.

      In Ian Kershaw’s huge biography of Hitler, the man is portrayed as gambler who keeps pushing his luck, keeps rolling the dice. I think that very much describes the personality of Netanyahu and a man he has had a huge influence on, Bolton.


  42. Linda Lewis
    June 14, 2019 at 23:44

    Quote: “This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping, and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high-degree of sophistication,” Pompeo told the press in a statement.

    Apparently, they using the same assessment boilerplate used to justify attacking Syria over alleged (and now discredited) sarin attacks.

    • Zhu
      June 15, 2019 at 06:31

      Trump &Co. suddenly trust “intelligence” agencies?

  43. Laura Mueller
    June 14, 2019 at 23:15

    CNN reports tonight at 10:45 p.m. that before the tanker attack, Iranians fired a missile at a US MQ-9 Reaper Drone. So why wasn’t this the actual source of the flying ordinance that the Japanese tanker owner said struck his tanker?
    Just wondering, what was the mission of that US drone?
    “The Reaper has a 950-shaft-horsepower (712 kW) turboprop engine…[that] allows the Reaper to carry 15 times more ordnance payload and cruise at about three times the speed of the MQ-1.[6] The aircraft is monitored and controlled by aircrew in the Ground Control Station (GCS), including weapons employment.” [Wikipedia]

  44. June 14, 2019 at 23:15

    “This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping, and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high-degree of sophistication,” does Pompeo admit that his “assessment” is baseless?

    intelligence — to paraphrase Ghandi, “it would be an excellent idea”

    the weapons use — so far, there is no clarity what weapons were used, US Navy suspect “limpet mines”, the crew member talked about “flying objects” which is highly non-specific, but most probably it would be drones

    expertise needed to execute the operation, as drones seem to be most probable, Gulfie proxies in Syria used drones many times, Americans and allies obviously have drone expertise, Hoothi have them — basically, if your reference point is clerical personnel, such expertise would be baffling, but ME warriors of all sorts know how to use it, particularly against large slowly moving targets with no air defenses

    recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping — number one, ascribing the attacks in Fujaira to Iran is debatable, number two, limpet mines were used at that time, which explains why US Navy makes torturous arguments that they were used in this case too

    too sophisticated for the dim bulbs living on the southern shores of the Gulf or other putative black flaggers — now, is Pompeo insulting Mossad, intelligence of KSA and UAE and so on?

    too sophisticated for the moro

  45. old geezer
    June 14, 2019 at 22:17

    an interesting thought experiment ; let the iranians close the straight of hormuz.

    i wonder how long before ms johnstone et all would whine about the obscene profits of american oil producers.

    • Kevin Schmidt
      June 14, 2019 at 22:44

      I wonder how long it took you to build that whiny thought experiment strawman.

      • Joe S
        June 15, 2019 at 00:26

        I can see the paid shills are working overtime. Have to clean up the sloppiness of the war oligarchs because they have ran out of ideas on how to gain support. It is actually kind of funny watching them make a fool of themselves. It is also funny to watch you shills stumble for things to say. The only thing you can think of is saying “strawman” but offer no explanation. Smart dude. I’m sur they will take it out of your pay.

  46. CitizenOne
    June 14, 2019 at 21:53

    I agree. There is a common theme here and this administration seems to be covert actions on steroids. It is not Trump but he has been persuaded to let these neocons in the room and run wild and free with power disruptions, riots, coups and assassination attempts in Venezuela and all sorts of threats to Iran.

    Isn’t it odd that the US government should be enraged about the two primary nationalized oil companies. Iran and Venezuela.

    If there is a war, it will be a war purely about oil and nothing else. Perhaps when we come through the ashes of our greedy war for oil we will abandon our addiction to fossil fuel.

    Nah, who am I kidding. It will be Mad Max World on the toxic dying planet. Planet of the Apes.

    • anon4d2
      June 15, 2019 at 17:19

      If the US were concerned about oil, it would never have made war in the Mideast.
      The politicians want zionist bribes, nothing more; every US war there has been at their direction.
      They get far less from Saudi Arabia. The MIC wants war with any small country.

      • druid
        June 17, 2019 at 13:54

        absolutely! Oil has to be sold and can always be bought. It’s all about the Yinon Plan!

  47. mike k
    June 14, 2019 at 21:40

    The best reason for disbelieving Pompeo is his record of lying, war mongering, and blind support for Israel. This man has utter disregard and contempt for the truth.

    • Nathan Mulcahy
      June 15, 2019 at 09:09

      Agree. And such this PompAss is perfectly quality to serve the outlaw empire of chaos.

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