AN IMAGINARY DEBATE
Edited and Presented by Lasha Darkmoon
Though this discussion never took place, the words cited below are 100 per cent accurate and have been arranged in a collage of quotes so as to give the impression of a live debate.
“Iran did do it, and you know they did it
because you saw the boat!”
— Donald Trump
CRAIG MURRAY (political activist and whistleblower, former British ambassador to Uzbekistan) : I really cannot begin to fathom how stupid you would have to be to believe that Iran would attack a Japanese oil tanker at the very moment that the Japanese Prime Minister was sitting down to friendly talks in Tehran on economic cooperation that can help Iran survive the effects of US economic sanctions.
The Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous was holed above the water line. That rules out a torpedo attack, which is the explanation being touted by the neocons.
The second vessel, the Front Altair, is Norwegian owned and 50% Russian crewed (the others being Filipinos). It is owned by Frontline, a massive tanker leasing company that also has a specific record of being helpful to Iran in continuing to ship oil despite sanctions.
It was Iran that rescued the crews and helped bring the damaged vessels under control.
That Iran would target a Japanese ship and a friendly Russian crewed ship is a ludicrous allegation. They are however very much the targets that the USA allies in the region – the Saudis, their Gulf Cooperation Council colleagues, and Israel – would target for a false flag. It is worth noting that John Bolton was meeting with United Arab Emirates ministers two weeks ago – both ships had just left the UAE.
DAVID DeCAMP (‘Antiwar’ correspondent) : The owner of the Japanese tanker that was attacked on Thursday in the Gulf of Oman, the Kokuka Outrageous, contradicted the US military’s claims about the attack.
Central Command reported that the two tankers were hit with limpet mines, a type of mine that is attached to the hull of a ship below the waterline using magnets. But Yutaka Katada, the owner of the Kokuka Outrageous, said he received reports a projectile hit the ship.
“We received reports that something flew towards the ship,” Katada said at a press conference, “The place where the projectile landed was significantly higher than the water level, so we are absolutely sure that this wasn’t a torpedo. I do not think there was a time bomb or an object attached to the side of the ship.”
US Central Command released a grainy black and white video of a boat alongside a ship, claiming it was an Iranian patrol boat removing a limpet mine from the Kokuka Outrageous, the claim being they were getting rid of the evidence. The video does not conclusively prove anything, as it is hard to tell what the boat is doing. Iranian state media said Iran rescued the crew of both tankers, so the video could have just been a recording of the rescue efforts.
In an interview with Fox and Friends Friday morning, President Trump blamed Iran for the attacks on the tankers. Trump cited the video as proof, “Well Iran did do it, and you know they did it because you saw the boat.”
Trump, who has been known to sometimes contradict his more hawkish cabinet members, fell in line with his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who on Thursday, accused Iran of attacking the tankers with no evidence to back up his claim.
MIKE POMPEO : This assessment [of mine] 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.
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.
CAITLIN JOHNSTONE : Pompeo is a known liar, especially when it comes to Iran. He has a well-established history of circulating blatant lies about Iran and the behavior of the Iranian government, and he recently told an audience at Texas A&M University that when he was leading the CIA, “We lied, we cheated, we stole.”
JON RAINWATER (executive director of Peace Action and Common Dreams) : Mike Pompeo has zero credibility when it comes to Iran. He’s long been actively campaigning for a confrontation with Iran. He has a track record of pushing bogus theories with no evidence such as the idea that Iran collaborates closely with al-Qaeda.
CAITLIN JOHNSTONE : [As for] John Bolton, Trump’s psychopathic Iran hawk National Security Advisor, he has openly endorsed lying to advance military agendas.
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.
LD : Unfortunately for the mendacious US warmongers, however, as they do their best to point the finger of blame at Iran for these recent events in the Gulf of Oman, German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass has now stated categorically that the US video in no way proves that Iran was to blame for the tankers attacks in the Gulf of Oman.
Israel is apparently not very pleased that Germany, its milk cow for Holocaust reparations, has stepped out of line and dared to cast doubts on the official story cooked up by the US and Israel, with extra help from Britain. Not a word in any mainstream news media that Israel is most likely to be behind this false flag attack. After all, who has most to gain from the demonization and destruction of Iran? Cui bono? The answer is obvious: Israel.
JASON DITZ (‘Antiwar’ editor) : Speaking to reporters during a visit to Norway, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has dismissed the US military’s video, saying it is not sufficient to prove Iran was behind attacks on tankers in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday.
“The video is not enough. We can understand what is being shown, sure, but to make a final assessment, this is not enough for me,” Maas said. President Trump insisted earlier in his own comments to reporters that the video was enough and clearly proved Iran was behind the attack.
With the Japanese ship’s crew describing the attack as caused by something flying at the ship in the air, not the water, the entire mine story is on shaky ground, and to the extent the US believes this video is demonstrative of the mine narrative, it too is very weak.
CRAIG MURRAY : The USA and their UK stooges have both immediately leapt in to blame Iran. The media is amplifying this with almost none of the scepticism which is required. I cannot think of a single reason why anybody would believe this particular false flag. It is notable that neither Norway nor Japan has joined in with this ridiculous assertion.
LD : Trump and his two warmonger advisors, Mike Pompeo and John Bolton, are apparently at loggerheads about what happens next. Actually, this is just the old “good cop, bad cop” routine — with the belligerent Pompeo and Bolton salivating for war, and Trump, the sedate elder statesman putting on an act of gravitas, advocating dialogue and diplomacy.
JASON DITZ : President Trump was quick to blame Iran, citing the dubious Centcom video as proof, and declaring that they are “in deep, deep trouble.” Beyond that, however, he reiterated that he wants to negotiate with Iran, and that he’s “in no rush” to actually have the talks. He also continues to say he’s not interested in a war.
That talk of not wanting a war stands in sharp contrast to John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who have been angling for a conflict with Iran for months now, and for whom this is just another chance to talk up a military response to Iranian misdeeds.
LD : According to Pompeo, the US can go to war without seeking Congressional approval. All Trump has to do is give the order. A single word from Trump and thousands of Americans will come back in body bags. And tens of thousands of Iranians will die.
SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: This incident must not be used as a pretext for a war with Iran, a war which would be an unmitigated disaster for the United States, Iran, the region, and the world.
DONALD TRUMP : Why bother having nuclear weapons if you’re afraid to use them?
ON THE BRINK OF WAR
FEDERICO PIERACCINI (specialist in international affairs) : I wrote an article in 2016 dismissing the possibility of a nuclear war as absurd and impossible. But while a lot has changed in the meantime, my opinion has not. I struggle to understand how such an eventuality can be avoided when the US remains on a collision course with China and Russia.
Trump appears unwilling to go down in history as the president responsible for kicking off nuclear Armageddon. But what about the next president? The deep state in control of US politics would surely be able to place into office someone who would advance the final justification for a headlong confrontation with Moscow and Beijing.
If you think I am exaggerating, take Pompeo, a representative of the deep state, and his recent answer to the question of whether Trump was sent by God to save Israel from Iran. “As a Christian, I certainly believe that’s possible”, he responded.
Try reflecting on the fact that Washington has been at war almost every year since World War II, conducting clandestine operations in more than 50 countries and killing millions of civilians directly and indirectly, all the while having the world believe it is a blameless force for good on the side of truth and justice.
We live in a world based on lies. Without this reality changing in the foreseeable future, with the mainstream media continuing to keep much of the population disoriented and confused, it is not too difficult to imagine the United States by 2025 pulling the rug out from under everybody’s feet through a great-power conflict, so as to build atop the debris a new, unchallengeable Pax Americana.
What Comes After Trump – World War III?
LD : In all fairness, I think we must let President Trump have the last word.
DONALD TRUMP (summing up in his usual masterly manner) : You know what uranium is, right? It’s this thing called nuclear weapons, and other things, like lots of things are done with uranium, including some bad things. 🙂