“We are in the game of using covert means against the Iranians”

Paul Joseph Watson

A member of the influential pro-Israel Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) think tank has brazenly suggested that the United States should launch a false flag provocation in order to start a war with Iran.

Speaking at a Washington Institute for Near East Policy policy forum luncheon on “How to Build US-Israeli Coordination on Preventing an Iranian Nuclear Breakout,” WINEP director of research Patrick Clawson listed a raft of historical examples of where governments have either staged or exploited attacks in order to become embroiled in war.

Clawson is also a former senior economist with the IMF and the World Bank.

Lamenting how it is “Very hard for me to see how the United States President can get us to war with Iran,” Clawson added, “the traditional way [that] America gets to war is what would be best for U.S. interests.”

By the “traditional way,” Clawson clearly intimated that he thinks the U.S. should stage or provoke an attack in order to create a manufactured casus belli for striking Iran.

“We can do a variety of things to increase the pressure,” said Clawson as fellow attendees at the luncheon snickered, adding that sanctions are not the only option and that “we are in the game of using covert means against the Iranians, we could get nastier about it.”

“So, if in fact the Iranians aren’t going to compromise, it would be best if somebody else started the war,” Clawson said.

Mentioning an incident on August 17 when power cables serving the Fordow Enrichment Plant were severed by an explosion, Clawson stated, “Iranian submarines periodically go down, someday one of them might not come up – who would know why? – clearly hinting that the U.S. should attack Iranian ships in order to provoke a response.

Reeling off a number of incidents that the U.S. President “had to wait for” before taking America to war, Clawson mentioned the Gulf of Tonkin, the Lusitania, the attack on the USS Maine, Pearl Harbor, as well as the attack on Fort Sumter during Abraham Lincoln’s tenure.

Every one of those events is historically recognized to have been staged to some degree or at least known ahead of time and exploited.

The explosion which sunk the USS Maine on 15 February 1898 and drove the United States into a war with Spain was most likely an accident. However, an aggressive propaganda campaign run by the king of yellow journalism William Randolph Hearst ensured that Americans were hoodwinked into blaming Spain and throwing their support behind the war.

The sinking of the Lusitania, which helped bring America into World War One, was also a planned provocation. In September 2008, a diving expedition confirmed speculation that had raged for decades – the ship was carrying a huge amount of munitions and was a legitimate target for German U-boats. Before the ship sailed, the Germans made it clear they knew the boat was carrying munitions and would target the Lusitania.

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was known ahead of time and allowed to happen. The McCollum memo, written on October 7, 1940, by Lieutenant Commander Arthur H. McCollum of the Office of Naval Intelligence, detailed eight actions that could be used to provoke Japan into attacking the United States. Freedom of Information Act files confirm that that United States had intercepted Admiral Yamamoto’s radio messages sent weeks before December 7 1941, one of which made it clear that the Japanese would attack Pearl Harbor.

In the case of the Gulf of Tonkin, the supposed second attack by the North Vietnamese which the White House cited in sending troops to Vietnam did not take place. In an interview for a documentary called The Fog of War, then Defense Secretary Robert S McNamara admits that the attack “didn’t happen.”

In listing these examples, Clawson is shamelessly calling for the United States to stage or provoke an incident as a means of manufacturing a pretext to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities.