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Well-Connected Think-Tank Neoconservative Urged False Flag Conspiracy to Blame Iran

Updated on June 27, 2019
Patrick Clawson
Patrick Clawson

Years before a recent attack on tankers in the Middle East which the US has blamed on Iran but which Iran categorically denies, a regular commentator on television news and influential think-tank "Neoconservative" was suggesting that the US mount false flag attacks on targets in the name of "crisis initiation."

In one of the recent attacks, on a Japanese tanker, the tanker company president flatly contradicted the US version of the story and said that Iran was not responsible, and that his ship had been attacked by a "flying object," not a mine as the Trump administration claimed.

Saying he was not advocating a false flag attack while advocating it, and dancing around words whose ultimate meaning was unmistakable, Patrick Clawson, Senior Fellow at Washington Institute, suggested that the US frame Iran in a manner reminiscent of the Gulf of Tonkin, the USS Maine, and even Pearl Harbor.

Clawson appears frequently as a commentator on television and radio, and has published articles in major newspapers including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post.

The Washington Institute was founded by Barbi Weinberg of Los Angeles, and Martin Indyk, a former deputy director for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC.) The Institute's Board Advisors includes Henry Kissinger, former Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Perle, and former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice.

In a speech at the Washington Institute in Washington, DC, Clawson said: "We are in the game of using covert means against the Iranians. " Clawson had been deftly invoking a litany of known or suspected historical false flag attacks, such as the Gulf of Tonkin (Vietnam,) the USS Maine (Spanish-American War,) and Pearl Harbor. Clawton then said cryptically: "if in fact the Iranians aren’t going to compromise it would be best if someone else started the war."

Clawton then implored his audience:

"People! We are in the game of using covert means against the Iranians. We could get nastier at that.”

The speech by Clawson was also reported in the American Conservative.

The excerpt from Clawson's talk has been circulating on the Internet in the wake of recent attacks on tankers in the Middle East which the US has blamed on Iran, but which Iran has vigorously denied. Many on the Internet are calling recent tanker attacks - blamed on Iran - false flag military operations. A "false flag" is an attack in which one country executes an attack which is then blamed on another country. Scholars point to the Gulf of Tonkin, the Lavon Affair, and the contentious USS Liberty as examples.

The bizarre attack on a Japanese tanker on June 13, in which the crew and president of the tanker company vehemently dispute the US assertion that it was hit by an Iranian mine, is the latest in a series of attacks in which the US has blamed Iran without offering evidence, according to CNN. On May 12, four tankers near the port of Fujairah in the Gulf of Oman were attacked.

CNN reported:

"The US blamed Iran for the attack, with US national security adviser John Bolton saying, "I think it is clear these (attacks) were naval mines almost certainly from Iran." He did not offer evidence that Tehran was responsible."

Speculation that some recent major incidents which have driven US foreign policy have been "false flag" attacks has been relegated to the realm of "conspiracy," as major disputations of the official explanation of an event has been called. But what Clawson was suggesting, at a major policy venue attended by both military and civilian officials at the highest levels of the US foreign policy establishment, was exactly that.

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