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article imageOp-Ed: False flag — is Iran being set up?

By Alexander Baron     Oct 17, 2011 in Politics
The recent claim that Iran attempted to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador in Washington has been seized on by the crazies as yet another false flag operation by the diabolical US Government. For once, they may be right.
The story of this failed assassination plot was big news on both sides of the Atlantic, and it was greeted with more than a little skepticism here, including by the mainstream media. Patrick Cockburn, the author of this article, is no conspiracy crank, and as a time-serving Middle East correspondent, he knows what he is talking about.
Before discussing the merits or otherwise of this particular case, some historical background may be helpful to the uninitiated.
Back in 1962, when the American Government was somewhat more belligerent towards the great socialist experiment in Cuba than it is today, some half-wit came up with a pretext to invade the island which involved faking terrorist attacks. “Operation Northwoods” was apparently given serious consideration, but was rejected by then President Kennedy, as any President with half a brain would. These documents were later declassified and placed in the public domain.
The revelation of “Operation Northwoods” was a godsend to conspiracy cranks. At one time, the far right had a near monopoly on this sort of thing, and no doubt some loony with more imagination than common sense would have and probably has found some way of linking it to the Protocols Of Zion and the march of the Symbolic Snake of Judaism through the great cities of the world from 929BC until the present day. Over the past few years though, certainly with the rise of the misnamed 9/11 Truth Movement, the left has if anything been even more immersed in this sort of no-brainer conspiracy mongering.
You can find a link to the “Operation Northwoods” documents in this article, which also gives some insight into how 9/11 Truthers twist the truth.
Having said that, false flag operations are by no means always and only the products of over-active imaginations. In the real world, a false flag or more prosaically an entrapment or incitement operation usually has several identifying features. For one thing, the only people who suffer are those who are targeted by it; although it may involve a conspiracy to murder, no one actually gets killed. For another thing, such operations are generally conceived and carried out at a low level. The Lockerbie bombing has often been branded a false flag operation. While it is possible that a terrorist operation - including a state-sponsored terrorist operation - could leave false clues to point the finger at an ideological enemy, there is usually more to a false flag than this. The idea that an operation the size of 9/11 could have been set up by the CIA, Mossad, etc or by some permutation thereof, beggars believe. Because false flags and entrapments are low level, they have small budgets and limited personnel. They are also by definition illegal, so people higher up the food chain will generally not get their hands dirty, although when it comes to simple lies like the weapons of mass destruction claims against Iraq, an exception can be made.
The FBI's COINTELPRO program is a good or rather a bad example of low level mischief-making; although the likes of Ward Churchill have attributed magical powers to it, it doesn't seem to have been very effective.
The revelations of undercover cop Mark Kennedy may be the tip of a very large iceberg. In Britain, police officers working undercover and informants who take part in crime are supposed to work to very strict guidelines. In practice, we know very little of what actually happens, because the police will go to extreme lengths to cover up the misdeeds of their brother officers, as will the courts. It is at least conceivable that a police officer would for example cover up a murder that involved another officer or officers. Anyone who doubts this should read up on the cases of James Ashley and Liddle Towers, the latter of whose beating to death inspired at least three songs including Tom Robinson's Blue Murder.
Stateside, anyone who has seen the infamous Rodney King video should ask what would have happened if the victim had died as a result of his beating, and the video not surfaced for a month or two.
So do the police and other agencies actually plot to murder people? James Bond aside, probably not on home soil, but they certainly seek out people who have murder in mind. Check out this article. They also run “legitimate” entrapment operations such as buying drugs undercover, and at times weapons. Of late, they have taken to hanging out in Internet chat rooms where posing as underage girls they do their best to ensnare paedophiles. In cases like this, even where the target has not made the first approach, most people would regard their behaviour as legitimate, because while many desperate people will commit crimes for material gain including murder, no thirty year old male ever has any mitigation for talking dirty to a 12 year old girl.
Now let us return to the current business in Washington. The blame for this plot has been laid at the door of the Quds Force by among others the ADL.
The Iranian Government including its charismatic President has denounced the allegations, as well they might. Having said that, Ahmadinejad has offered us olive branches on more than one occasion, and it is not really credible that he or any of the country's theocratic rulers would have become personally involved in any such plot. Instead of throwing allegations at the Iranian Government and threatening more sanctions against it, the Obama Administration would do better to cool things and ask the Iranians, politely, to instigate their own investigation. If there is any low level Iranian involvement in this plot, the Islamic Republic should 'fess up to it at the first opportunity, and disassociate itself from the plotters forthwith. By the same token, Washington should cut Tehran some slack.
The response of the Obama Administration to this plot be it real or imagined is in stark contrast to the muted response the then aspiring President made to the atrocities in Gaza known as Operation Cast Lead, and the equally muted response of the then President to the Flotilla Massacre.
It is here perhaps that we should look for any underhand dealings, not necessarily to the Mossad, but to the Neo-Cons and their Zionist allies.
In case anyone hadn't noticed, the Israelis are currently set to release hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in effect in return for one soldier. It is virtually inconceivable that this could have come about without pressure from Washington, probably from Obama himself who made noises to similar effect immediately after the execution of Osama Bin Laden. As pressure mounts on Israel to settle with the Palestinians, including from American Jews who after decades of indoctrination have finally began to wake up to the reality of Zionism, the dog is at last beginning to wag the tail rather than vice versa.
Clearly, some people don't want to see this, alas, the election of Obama over McCain as good as ended the effective warmongering of the lobby we all know doesn't really exist, but we must not allow them or anyone else to make mountains out of molehills and plunge America and the world into a war over what is at worst a failed plot to murder one man.
On top of all this, there is the Arab Spring. With the optimism of this phenomenon has also come more than a little apprehension, but this is also a time of opportunity, including for the Palestinians. But concessions are going to have to be made all round; what this area of the world needs more than anything else is investment, and that can't come about if there is perpetual war or even the threat of war. Palestine, such as it is, has no natural resources, and although the Middle East is a region of great natural wealth - read oil - this oil will not last forever, and at some point the entire region is going to have to develop the alternative technologies which we will all need in order to sustain the world's ongoing lust for energy. That includes such things as hydrogen cars, and more specifically, solar power, the source for which is not exactly in short supply anywhere in the Middle East.
The bottom line is that whatever the outcome of the legal proceedings regarding this bizarre alleged conspiracy, both Washington and Tehran should cool it. Washington should not allow the anti-Iranian lobby to pressurise it into exerting further sanctions, and Tehran should cooperate as far as possible with the investigation, however contemptible it finds the pronouncements emanating from the Great Satan.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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