Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 19, 2019

How John Bolton Controls The Administration And Donald Trump

Jeff Bezos' blog, the Washington Post, has some bits on the discussion and infighting in the Trump administration about the march towards war on Iran. The piece opens with news of a new redline the Trump administration set out:

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has privately delivered warnings intended for Iranian leaders that any attack by Tehran or its proxies resulting in the death of even one American service member will generate a military counterattack, U.S. officials said.
While such attacks were common during the Iraq War, Pompeo told Iraqi leaders in a message he knew would be relayed to Tehran that a single American fatality would prompt the United States to hit back.

That warning was sent in May when Pompeo visited Baghdad. The issue may soon become critical. Throughout the last days there were rocket attacks in Iraq against targets where U.S. personnel are present. The AFP correspondent in Baghdad lists six of them:

Maya Gebeily - @GebeilyM - 10:20 UTC - 19 Jun 2019

Timeline of attacks on US interests in #Iraq
Fri: Mortars hit Balad base, where US troops based
Sun: Projectiles hit #Baghdad mil airport
Mon: Rockets on Taji, where coalition forces based
Tues: Mortars on #Mosul ops HQ
Wed: Rockets on housing/ops center used by IOCs near #Basra

#IRAQ: @AFP learns there were at least *two* attacks near US oil interests in #Basra in last 24 hours - ExxonMobil + Baker Hughes, a GE Company Their senior staff are being evacuated.

At least some of these attacks came from areas where Islamic State underground groups are still active. The weapons used were improvised and imprecise.

That shows how stupid the red line is that Pompeo set out. He would attack Iran if an errant ISIS rocket by chance kills some U.S. soldier? That is nuts.

Back to the WaPo piece:

Speaking during a visit to U.S. Central Command headquarters in Tampa on Tuesday, Pompeo said Trump “does not want war” but stressed the United States would act if assaulted. “We are there to deter aggression,” he said.

The U.S. violated the nuclear agreement and is waging an economic war on Iran. That was the aggression that started the conflict. Anything that follows from that was caused by the Trump administration.

Colonel Pat Lang thinks that Pompeo was in Tampa to bring the military in line with his aggressive policies:

Ole First in his Class is down in Tampaland today jawboning the leaders of CENTCOM (Mideast), and SOCOM (badass commandos worldwide). Why is he there? The Secretary of State has no constitutional or legal role in dealing with the armed forces. That being the case one can only think that there is push-back from senior commanders over the prospect of war with Iran and that Trump has been persuaded to let him do this unprecedented visit to wheedle or threaten his way into their acquiescence.

WaPo again:

The sudden departure Tuesday of Patrick Shanahan, who has served as acting defense secretary since January, could further sideline the Pentagon, which has campaigned to reduce the potential for hostilities. Shanahan’s withdrawal followed revelations of a complicated domestic dispute.

The 'complicated domestic dispute' is not so complicated at all and the case is undisputed. In a several years long process Shanahan's ex-wife went crazy and physically attacked him and their kids. Finally one of the kids hit back at her with a baseball bat. In court Shanahan argued for a mild punishment for the kid. All the kids, mostly grown up now, are with him and do not want to see their mother. All that was documented by the police and by courts. Shanahan is not guilty of anything in that case. It was not a reason to resign.

Pat Lang believes that the real reason was Pompeo's trip to Tampa:

Shanahan withdrew his name from confirmation process today. IMO he did it because DJT let Pomp circumvent his authority.

The Pentagon was the last hold out against the aggressive anti-Iran policy says WaPo:

Concerns about an escalation are particularly pointed at the Pentagon, where the absence of a confirmed secretary has fueled worries that hawks in the White House and State Department could push the military beyond its specific mission of destroying the remnants of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, raising the potential for conflict with Iran.

It has been reported several times and by different outlets that Trump is somewhat isolated from anti-war opinions in his administration. All he sees and hears is Fox News, Bibi Netanyahoo and John Bolton. The WaPo piece again confirms that:

Administration officials interviewed by The Washington Post said that national security adviser John Bolton has dominated Iran policy, keeping a tight rein on information that gets to the president and sharply reducing meetings in which top officials gather in the White House’s Situation Room to discuss the policy.
The intensification of [the "maximum pressure"] campaign has triggered internal debates over how best to execute the president’s orders. At the State Department this spring, an argument among officials over how hard to squeeze Iran with sanctions ended with those favoring the toughest possible approach prevailing. In particular, hard-liners at the White House squelched waivers that would have allowed Iran to keep selling oil after a May 1 deadline. White House aides also ended waivers that allowed Iran to swap its enriched uranium for natural uranium, an integral part of the nuclear deal.
While State Department officials sought to achieve a “sweet spot” that would weaken Iran through sanctions but not push so hard that Iran would withdraw from the nuclear deal, others have argued that Trump’s goal is to destroy the accord at any cost and pursue a more expansive policy that seeks to cripple Iran’s proxy forces throughout the region.

Pentagon and State Department officials have complained, however, about the difficulty of getting an adequate hearing for these debates under Bolton. As a result, arguments about policy frequently are not aired and do not reach the president. The process is “very exclusionary, and Bolton has very sharp elbows,” the senior administration official said.
At the Pentagon, officials have quietly voiced concerns for months that the current trajectory might make military conflict a self-fulfilling prophecy.
One person familiar with the recent discussions said that Pentagon officials, including Shanahan, have been “the ones putting the brakes” on the State Department and the White House. “DOD is not beating the drums of war,” the person said.

One can quibble with that. It is the regional military commander who always asks for more troops. More ships and more troops increase the chance for "accidents" and make a war more likely. That is why John Bolton uses each and every small incident to send more troops to the Middle East:

“Does the president want to send more troops? No. Will he be convinced to do it? Yes,” the senior administration official said.

Trump, in contrast to some of his advisers, has seemed to downplay the significance of Iran’s actions. In an interview published Tuesday by Time magazine, he said the recent oil tanker attacks were “very minor.”

Trump is the president. He hired those people and is responsible for what they do. But does he know what they do?

There are two possibilities.

Trump wants a war with Iran and what we see is a good cop, bad cop strategy in which Trump plays the good guy for his voters until some 'grave incident' happens that lets him says that he has no choice but to 'hit back' at Iran. The other scenario is that Trump is a fool and that the war hawks use him as their tool to implement their preferred policies.

Former MI6 agent Alastair Crooke says that the second scenario is the real one:

The consensus on ‘no conflict’ unfortunately, may turn out to have been overly sanguine. This is not because Trump consciously desires war, but because the hawks surrounding him, particularly Bolton, are painting him into a corner – from which he must either back down, or double down, if Iran does not first capitulate.

And here is the point: the main Trump misconception may be that he does believe that Iran wants, and ultimately, ‘will seek a deal’.

Crooke describes how Bolton, and Netanyahoo behind him, outmaneuver the U.S. intelligence services over Iran. They stovepipe "intelligence" to the president and the media just like the crew of then Vice President Dick Cheney did in the run up to the war on Iraq:

Bolton chairs at the NSC, the regular and frequent strategic dialogue meetings with Israel – intended to develop a joint action plan, versus Iran. What this means is that the Israeli intelligence assessments are being stovepiped directly to Bolton (and therefore to Trump), without passing by the US intelligence services for assessment or comment on the credibility of the intelligence presented (shades of Cheney confronting the analysts down at Langley). And Bolton too, will represent Trump at the ‘security summit’ to be held later this month in Jerusalem with Russia and Israel. Yes, Bolton truly has all the reins in his hands: He is ‘Mr Iran’.

'Mr Anti-Iran' is a more precise moniker. Or one may just call him President Bolton.

Posted by b on June 19, 2019 at 18:20 UTC | Permalink

next page »

I’m crying already for the innocent American fatality

Posted by: DG | Jun 19 2019 18:37 utc | 1

The US is now saying that they will only protect ships in the gulf if the usual NATO suspects come along for the ride. If they do, then when the US attacks Iran they are committed for the regional war that follows. Bolton has done a great job of putting the band back together again.

Posted by: BraveNewWorld | Jun 19 2019 18:39 utc | 2

Its all on Trump. No excuses. When the bodybags start to flow and the gas prices go to 8 or 9 dollars a gallon he will be toast. He'll never be able to show his face in public again without a small army around him. What a legacy.

Posted by: so | Jun 19 2019 18:45 utc | 3

The similarities, to me, are a poor pantomime of Nixon and Kissinger. Milhaus was always the "madman" with his finger on the nuclear trigger which made the Nazi employment campaigner, Kissinger, seem like one to reason with if you didn't want nuclear annihilation.

There is an interesting book, "The Fire And The Fury", that has some insight into the administration. Trump never thought he would win and didn't intend to. He wanted to be "Crooked Hillary's" victim. Also, the book makes a great case for Israeli collusion, not Russia.

That said, the book makes a large showing of DJT's ignorance and indifference. Like many ignorant presidential hopefuls, I think DJT thought he could make a difference but we all know he's just a shill.

My favorite part of the book stated that DJT ate at Mickey D's because he's afraid of being poisoned, not because of a great love of fast food.

The present goobermint can run Donald up and down the flag pole and blame everything in the world on him and no one will know the difference.

Posted by: Madison James | Jun 19 2019 18:47 utc | 4

The war on Iran will be different to other US/Western wars.

Previously, it has only become apparent after the war has been going for some time (they never really end) that the war was a crime.

This time the whole of the US and the West knows full well that a war crime is being perpetrated. This will mean a definite end of the illusions that the West has held about it's self since WWII (or WWI). Can Empires and Civilisations continue if they no longer believe the stories they tell themselves?

Trump has not been fooled or misled, neither have the American people, neither the UK/European governments or peoples. We are destroying ourselves with this act.

Bolton has more brain cells than the entirety of the European peoples.

Posted by: ADKC | Jun 19 2019 18:49 utc | 5

It will be: "Business as Usual".

Posted by: bjd | Jun 19 2019 18:50 utc | 6

I bet soon we'll learn Shanahan was pushed out by the usual Bolton tactic of threats and extortion -- both on the personal and familial level.
Shanahan should blow the whistle -- soon!

Posted by: bjd | Jun 19 2019 18:53 utc | 7

Thanks b. Trump is likely both a fool and a barking mad President with a nacissistic personality. A dangerous mix open to malicious behaviour and vulnerable to manipulation. I have no doubt that he revels in the gravitas of it all, the napoleonic pomp and ceremony etc. That the planet has to suffer this and Netanyahoo and Pence pentecostal ignorance is apalling.

There wont be any summit meeting between Iran and Trump, the insult would be intolerable and the outcome of no value to Iran. They know very well what the game is.

Bolton is just the killer for the job right where he is but will Trump find an equally malign player for his army? I am sure there is no shortage of 'suitable' candidates.

One bright side for the planet could well be a calamitous rise in oil price and a chaotic spin of global economic circumstances resulting in a drop in greenhouse gas emissions. On the dark side small pockets of survival.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jun 19 2019 18:54 utc | 8

@uncle tungsten (8)
One bright side for the planet could well be a calamitous rise in oil price and a chaotic spin of global economic circumstances resulting in a drop in greenhouse gas emissions. On the dark side small pockets of survival.

My thoughts exactly ;-)

Posted by: bjd | Jun 19 2019 18:56 utc | 9

I am one of the supporters of the good cop/bad cop scenario.

While the existential question that has been on the table for some time is who owns the world of finance, here we are again following the spinning of the Iran plate by late empire.

Bolton and Pompeo are representative of Trump's rabid evangelical base and Israel. The kabuki friction towards the shared goals is just that. To the degree that we are hearing shrillness from these folk reflects the increasing failure of their tactics to maintain control of the global narrative.

Something stupid is coming and it will be sad.....very sad if is our extinction instead of difficult evolution.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jun 19 2019 18:58 utc | 10

thanks b... pompeo has the same agenda as israel with regard to attacks on the golan heights or americans - same messed up logic.. nothing like having your (usa-ksa-israel-uae) proxy army involved too.."these attacks came from areas where Islamic State underground groups are still active." the 500 lb gorilla is ''there to deter aggression''.. right!

as for trump.. the guy is a self serving twit and fool... perfect person to represent the usa at this point which is why so many hate him and like him, depending on where one lives.. whatever bolton does - it is on trump and the falling usa empire as i see it.. it can't fall soon enough..

Posted by: james | Jun 19 2019 19:04 utc | 11

I'm definitely of the good cop/bad cop belief. It fits with the entirety of his campaign and presidency: say one thing, do another, and blame somebody else. Trump wanted Bolton for NSA since thr campaign. Both Bolton and Trump have had a position of confrontation with Iran for a long time. The fact that people still buy into the lies of *any* politician is a sad state of affairs. It sure does make the job of lying far easier.

Posted by: Sorghum | Jun 19 2019 19:10 utc | 12

@1 DG

Any tears for the Iranians or just like the Iraqis, their blood is not as red as the American soldiers?

Empathy: defined as getting our heads out of pseudo-patriotic asses and feel for the other side as well.

Posted by: Uncle Jon | Jun 19 2019 19:16 utc | 13

Trump's tactical nukes mounted on Trident missiles will be ready in October - end of September according to the earlier news articles. I guess team Trump will be desperately trying to provoke a reaction from Iran so Trump can reluctantly use his nukes. (NPR specifically names Iran as a country that these may be used against).
Good cop bad cop is Trump's game at the moment. He needs to be judged by the people he appoints and keeps on.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 19 2019 19:18 utc | 14

DG @1
Don't feel too sorry for the American fatality. It will probably be a US soldier who volunteered to go overseas and kill for oil.
Might be a female soldier. That would make for better press.
Remember Nedā Āghā-Soltān? She was a beautiful Iranian woman, only 26 years old, shot in the head by a sniper in the 2009 Color (Green) Revolution attempt in Iran, a few blocks from the actual protests.
For some odd reason, a photographer was there to take pictures, and within a couple of hours, it was spread all over the world's media. We now call that "going viral". It takes a Mighty Wurlitzer to make a viral spread, I've noticed.

Posted by: wagelaborer | Jun 19 2019 19:23 utc | 15

@15 wagelaborer

Neda Agha Soltan was shot in the chest.

Posted by: Uncle Jon | Jun 19 2019 19:30 utc | 16

@1 DG

Reading your post again I am hoping it was an attempt at sarcasm. If so, ignore my comment above.

I don't think anybody here is in a mood for a joke.

Posted by: Uncle Jon | Jun 19 2019 19:39 utc | 17

"All he sees and hears is Fox News…"

Tucker Carlson has interviewed Tulsi Gabbard several times and has generally been anti-war on many of his programs, and was certainly very anti-Russiagate. So, watching Fox News isn't as horrible as say CNN, NBC, MSNBC to name the three worst.

Yes, as I wrote on the last thread, Trump's boxed into several corners, Iran not being the only one. Really can't wait for the moment Pompeo clutches at his chest and crumples to the ground a la Morsi. Pompeo's clearly forgotten what Putin told him. Speaking of Putin, tomorrow he'll conduct the 17th edition of his Direct Line conversation with Russia's people and press. Information in Russian here:

"The programme will be broadcast live by Channel One, Rossiya 1, Rossiya 24, NTV, Public Television of Russia (OTR) and Mir TV, and by radio stations Mayak, Vesti FM and Radio Rossii."

Unfortunately, the start time isn't provided. Questions in Russian can be submitted at the above link.

For those that missed it, here's the Iranian limpet mine link I posted yesterday.

Would never have guessed there existed a Foundation for European Progressive Studies, but it does and its hosting a forum this Friday:

"On Friday #21June, #IAIEvent with @FEPS_Europe in #Brussels to mark the completion of our joint one-year research on #Europe-#Iran relations after the US withdrawal from the #JCPOA.

"With the participation of Seyed Sajjadpour, Deputy FM of Iran."

As far as the damage done to the two tankers, if an actual limpet mine of the sort Iran employs were used, the damage would be far more extensive than what was sustained. IMO, continuing attacks by the sort of kamikaze drones employed would be impossible to stop; and since the remains of the drone sink into the sea, virtually impossible to collect any evidence that might link Iran to the attack.

The Outlaw US Empire has no cards to play other than bluff and bluster.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 19 2019 19:40 utc | 18

"That shows how stupid the red line is that Pompeo set out." Even b, one of the commenters I respect most, falls for the canard "Yanks R stoopid LOL". If you feverishly want an Iran war against the wishes of the majority of the planet, this is how it's done. Israel also drops some dud mortar shells into an empty patch on the Golan (itself or by proxy) any time it wants a mini casus belli in the Syria dossier.

I feel the Iranians have been pretty complicit propping up this image of Americans and Israelis as untouchable demigods, who only kill and can never be killed even once. The US should have gotten a steady stream of heroes coming home in boxes and wheelchairs the moment they crossed the Syrian border. Then the war fevers would've cooled considerably by now; that's how the Taliban made the orcs feel ... unwelcome in their slice of heaven. B opined at the time "This occupation is unsustainable", but nobody has properly contested it apart from a handful of ISIS holdouts. Eyes have been taken off balls it seems.

Posted by: Ma Laoshi | Jun 19 2019 19:45 utc | 19

And again, no. That reminds of the old 'if the Führer knew'. No, Tronald is not - at least not in this sense - a fool. He has promoted these people now said to trick him into their respective position. Tronald is - and was - well informed about Boltons and Pompeo's views.
No, it's the first possibility that applies. Any moment now Act 3 is staged, an 'Iranian attack' on u.s. interests - and then Tronald will open Pandora's box - and suffer we will.

Posted by: Pnyx | Jun 19 2019 19:49 utc | 20

There were stories recently that Trump was about to sack Bolton. Whatever the truth of that, there's a fundamental problem that Trump doesn't want to spend his nights in the war room. He spends his time watching Fox News, tweeting, and his weekends at Mar-a Lago. A serious war is beyond him, and I think he'll say no, beyond a one night big bang.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jun 19 2019 19:53 utc | 21

May be the intention was never to sink the tanker - but just to draw attention with some heavy smoke. The limpet mines may exists in various size, so they may have intentionaly used a small one for this. What were doing the IRGC along the tanker if not removing something from the hull. How do they even know there was something there of interrest.

Posted by: murgen23 | Jun 19 2019 19:56 utc | 22

The US has no leadership,,, just a bunch of mafioso hoods vying to be at the head of the Globalists table. The Europeons / West are little better going along to get a piece of the action... picture a Viking feast a few thousand years ago. Difference is we are the food they're devouring.

I am so happy 'b' explained the domestic violence attributed to Mr.Shanahan. I bit just like MSM wanted thinking he somehow abused his family. I imagine it was because it would have looked bad for the kind little woman.

Trump HAS drained the swamp,,, right into his administration. Look at what we in the US have to look forward to,,, tyrants on the left,,, tyrants on the right. I suppose we deserve this but it doesn't do well for my blood pressure.

Posted by: ken | Jun 19 2019 19:57 utc | 23

Jeremy Hunt said that no other state or non state actor could possibly be responsible for the tanker explosions. That is the most ignorant statement any potential Prime Minister could make. There are so many potential culprits, any one of whom would find it more than tempting to take Pompeo at his word and lob a bomb at a US base. The same scenario applied to Syria, the US positively encouraged a gas attack by the head choppers by declaring such an attack would mean US intervention. Sheldon Adelson is Trumps biggest doner "Adelson’s promotion of Bolton dates back at least to the days immediately after Trump’s November 2016 election. According to The New York Times, Adelson strongly supported Bolton for the position of deputy secretary of state as Trump was putting together his cabinet" So Trump could find it difficult to sack Bolton.

Posted by: Harry Law | Jun 19 2019 19:57 utc | 24

If this is mostly correct then the US is heading into a huge strategic catastrophe with epic blow back. That many millions in the MENA will suffer is as usual of no consequence to Americans but this time America will suffer a rapid irreversible decline and will deserve it.

Posted by: AriusArmenian | Jun 19 2019 19:59 utc | 25

b: Thanks for posting Lang's take on Shanahan being "outed" by Pompeo. Kind'a makes sense, given bigger picture you paint of Israeli "interests" being "stovepiped" through Bolton to DJT. Nothing I heard/read last night or this morning touched on this, it was all different takes on poor/no Shanahan vetting.

The irony of Shanahan being "dumped" for what the record seems to support: he did nothing wrong, maybe even showed noteworthy restraint vs. trump f***ing porn stars, stiffing sub-contractors for years (etc. etc.) is mind numbing.


Madison James @ Jun 19, 2019 2:47:33 PM

Also, the book makes a great case for Israeli collusion, not Russia.

More like CEDING Iran policy authority to hard line Likud hawks, as B describes in this post:

Bolton chairs at the NSC, the regular and frequent strategic dialogue meetings with Israel – intended to develop a joint action plan, versus Iran. What this means is that the Israeli intelligence assessments are being stovepiped directly to Bolton (and therefore to Trump), without passing by the US intelligence services for assessment or comment on the credibility of the intelligence presented (shades of Cheney confronting the analysts down at Langley).
(my emphasis)

It just seems like Iraq deja vu: GWB was the ignorant, dumb public face masking Lukidniks controlling US policy then, DJT the face masking the same now.

WRT war fears w/Iran: one little factoid rarely mentioned early on in Iraq "liberation"(did B write about this?): the PNAC crowd was openly advocating for a simultaneous military action towards Iran. Putin moved several battleships and destroyers right off the Iranian coast in a clear signal he would defend Iran. And that was the end of that.

Putin always holds his cards very close to his vest, but when he acts he does so decisively and with precision (aka his Syria military maneuvers). US bombs falling on Iran seems awfully close to Moscow in my view. I cannot help wondering if one of Putin's cards is his own red line: not allowing Likudniks to subjugate US military power for their "interests" wrt Iran.

Posted by: jdmckay | Jun 19 2019 20:00 utc | 26

psycho @ 10 opined;"I am one of the supporters of the good cop/bad cop scenario."

Add me, to the believers column.

ADKC @ 5 said;"Trump has not been fooled or misled, neither have the American people, neither the UK/European governments or peoples. We are destroying ourselves with this act."

james @ 11 said;" it is on trump and the falling usa empire as i see it.. it can't fall soon enough.."

Yes, absolutely, to both above statements..

And I'll add another major player, to the joke, the U$A has become, the corporate MSM for it's failure to honestly inform the public of reality..

Posted by: ben | Jun 19 2019 20:02 utc | 27

...the IRGC along the tanker...
Could s/o kindly point-out a confirmation from Iran that [1] subject boat was operated/manned by the IRGC? I'll check back for your input; thanks in advance.

Posted by: chu teh | Jun 19 2019 20:16 utc | 28

The phrase " good cop/bad cop" is so totally out of date. On the street and in the halls of power it's been " bad cop/crazy cop" at least since the 70s.

Posted by: NOBTS | Jun 19 2019 20:16 utc | 29

Posted by: Madison James | Jun 19, 2019 2:47:33 PM | 4
(Fire And Fury)

Speaking as a Deplorable, and having laughed my way through each of the first 60 side-splitting pages of Fire And Fury, Wolff's depiction of Trump as an incurious naif over-exploits humorous rhetoric to sell the fanciful notion that Trump is an incompetent one-dimensional character who won a US Presidential Election by accident.

Having followed Trump's relentless campaigning from beginning to end, and compared Trump's Herculean energy with Crooked Hillary's lazy excuse for dynamism, I have no hesitation in concluding that Wolff's is a preposterous assumption.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 19 2019 20:22 utc | 30

Magnier suggests watching this:

"This is a very balanced approach to the #US-#Iran crisis in the Gulf from an #EU point of view."

It links to a short CNN produced video. The few comments show the intensely high level of ignorance of my fellow Americans that are educational all by themselves.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 19 2019 20:31 utc | 31

I very much like that phrase, "Jeff Bezos' blog"

On the two scenarios involving Trump and Bolton, I would like to believe in "good cop, bad cop."

But I recall how many times Trump has been taken in by false evidence he could have checked, especially several times in Syria. Reportedly, once, on poison gas by his own silly daughter.

I also recall how many appallingly ignorant statements Trump has made on a whole range of matters.

It is very hard to credit cunning here.

So, I find myself with Alastair Crooke in the matter, Trump is a fool.

An extremely dangerous fool.

Posted by: JOHN CHUCKMAN | Jun 19 2019 20:33 utc | 32

It's about 1500 miles from Tehran to Moscow. That's about equal to the distance between Kansas City and San Francisco.

It is not in Russia's interest to have Iran attacked. Iran is a piece that offers a twofer to the Anglo Zio empire. It follows the edicts of the Yinon Plan and it antagonizes Russia.

Posted by: Kristan hinton | Jun 19 2019 20:37 utc | 33

If a war with Iran is orchestrated I will be very disappointed if Tel-Aviv is not destroyed. At some point in time Israel must pay for its' crimes.
I read today that an Egyptian news agency blamed Israel for the recent attacks on the 2 tankers. I find this heartening. However, I fear Israel is not beyond sinking an US naval vessel. re: USS LIBERTY. and albeit with Bolton's foreknowledge.
Shanahan was forced out. His family troubles pre-date today.

Posted by: joetv | Jun 19 2019 20:38 utc | 34

murgen23 @ Jun 19, 2019 3:56:40 PM:

May be the intention was never to sink the tanker - but just to draw attention with some heavy smoke. The limpet mines may exists in various size, so they may have intentionaly used a small one for this.

As B (and many other media) pointed out: the crew of the Japanese tanker all said the ship was hit by an air borne projectile. This was not a mine. Seems obvious if US was interested in the truth, they would recover and identify the projectile.

Just for shits and giggles, a brief reminder of some of US "evidence" and false flags (all lies) in service of these "endeavors" previously:

- reading the several excellent books and released CIA docs of the CIA engineered Mosaddegh coup, among other things was CIA bombs set off in Mosques (this was before the Ayatollahs were political), then flooding media with "accesssments" Mosaddegh was responsable. Kermit Roosevelt literally boasted about this.

- Collin Powell's "clear and convincing" evidence of Sadam's mobile missile lauchers (aka mobile weather balloons). And the GWB admin's attempts to literally destroy Hans Blix' reputation, and as it turned out Blix was right about everything.

- Fake Satellite photos of Sadam's troops on Saudi border.

- "Incubator baby" lies to US Senate, swaying Desert Storm I approval by 1 vote (many senators said that fabrication was the difference in their vote). And this after Sadam's incursion into Kuwait was after 18 months of US vetoing Iraq UN resolutions seeking to condemn Kuwait's angle drilling into Iraq's largest southern oil fields.

That's just a few from memory. At what point do US lawmakers finally put all this together (especially given Bolton's association with those who drove GWB's Iraq invasion) and refuse to even consider the non persuasive evidence (not to mention contradictory... aka crew says air borne attack), remind their colleagues and America of the cost of these lies just in last 20 years, and DEMAND proof that can be verified with THEIR OWN EYES.

The surreal, Orwellian fog is descending again.

Posted by: jdmckay | Jun 19 2019 20:46 utc | 35

Judging from the headline and the quoting approvingly from "Former MI6 agent Alastair Crooke", I'd say b believe in the "President Bolton" theory.

Like other commenters, I believe in the bad cop/good cop theory. In fact I wrote of this only yesterday (here and here, and here):

The media promote Doublethink ...
... the act of simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct, often in distinct social contexts. Doublethink is related to, but differs from, hypocrisy and neutrality... Doublethink is notable due to a lack of cognitive dissonance — thus the person is completely unaware of any conflict or contradiction.
... such that Trump is both peace-loving nationalist and empire-loving antagonist. Except that the latter is expressed as a positive: "staunch ally", "tough negotiator", "protector", etc instead of a negative. Some people fall for it (Kool-Aid drinkers) and MSM ignores those that talk about the meta issues of MSM complicity.

And it's not just Trump. Whenever a President does things that might cause cognitive dissonance, apologists and the feckless press explain it away as a positive or blame subordinates for "sabotaging" the hero President.

= = = =

IMO President's are just members of the Deep State team. Presidents lead the team that's "on the field" - like a quarterback in American football. But the Deep State 'coach' calls the plays. And the 'coach' is, in turn, ultimately responsible to the owners (capitalists)

= = = =

I sense that there's now an effort to essentially 'shout down' or otherwise sideline those that argue that the attacks are more likely to be a false flag by an anti-Iranian organization (probably connected to Mossad or CIA) and question the efficacy of a Iranian strategy stealth attacks.

karlof1 and Peter AU 1 described the likely subterfuge of the US claim that Iran attached a "limpet mine". But I haven't seen much desire to discuss or spread their theory. Reporting by Israeli media (picked up worldwide) about USA plans to bomb Iran (really just rumors) have worked their magic and turned the page on the question of who attacked the ships. How convenient!

<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

Sadly, I find that I disagree with both of b's latest theories: the "Iranian stealth attack" theory and the "President Bolton" theory. IMO these are propaganda narratives.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 19 2019 20:49 utc | 36

Long article reproduced in Russia Insider includes reference to mysterious escalation in the northern part of the Persian Gulf:

Posted by: Shakesvshav | Jun 19 2019 20:50 utc | 37

there is some confusion amongst commenters here; as to what the Iranian boat was doing next to the tanker? The first thing one should ask is; what is the source of the video? and when was it taken? Next, the Iranians have been credited with rescuing the crew from at least 1 tanker, if not both. Which explains the large # of persons on a boat that usually operates with a crew of 5.

Posted by: joetv | Jun 19 2019 20:50 utc | 38

it's all about money.. never let lies interfere with making more money... i am an economic determinist according to pl, ,lol..

politicians will lie and etc. etc. etc... the reason trump is in power is also all about money.. this good cop, bad cop bs is just that.. bs..

Posted by: james | Jun 19 2019 20:52 utc | 39

Except the 2007 “Iranian proxy” attacks on US forces illegally occupying Iraq were never proven.

Meaning the fable of Iranians being behind attacks in Iraq is hardly new.

The infamous Michael Gordon--the lead “reporter” on the “Judith Miller” fall 2002 Iraqi WMDs “reporting” in the NY Times--claimed that such “attacks” were proven in the pages of the NYT in March 2007. (He wasn’t fired–only leaving the NYT after 30 years in 2017.)

Except his “reporting” made bogus claims like the Iraqis weren’t able to follow armor penetrating shell designs that had been worked out in the 1920s.

In early 2007, there was a push by Cheney to strike Iran, the rumor is that W said “no”.

So Pompeo can’t even lie as well as Cheney, in that the NY Times' main Pentagon reporter reported the 2007 events as fact at the time.

(A secondary reporter, James Glanz also in Iraq in 2007, did manage to point out that the "Iranian" shells were marked in English and the US commanders provided nothing more than unsupported assertions regards the shells' origins. Glanz only writes for the NY Times about once every 6 months now.)

Posted by: Jay | Jun 19 2019 20:54 utc | 40

Houthis attack Jizan--on Red Sea just North of Yemen--power plant with cruise missile causing large fire to erupt. Yemeni Armed Forces Spokesman:

"There are big surprises coming soon, God willing, with higher sensitive impact on the Saudi regime, if its aggression continues."

Expect renewed attacks on oil infrastructure.

Not so long ago, it appeared the Saudi/UAE/Merc coalition had the initiative and was winning. That no longer appears to be the case with the invasion of Saudi territory by ground forces accompanied by missile and drone assaults that have reached as far as Riyadh. Earlier today, Southfront posted videos of two successful Houthi assaults that destroyed 11 armored vehicles and additional technicals--attacks Saudi appears incapable of stopping.

Apparently, Magnier knows more than he's written:

"In the coming days, I'll share more of #Iran's medium and long term plans to face the #US plans."

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 19 2019 21:02 utc | 41

Jrabbit @ 35 made this analogy;

"IMO President's are just members of the Deep State team. Presidents lead the team that's "on the field" - like a quarterback in American football. But the Deep State 'coach' calls the plays. And the 'coach' is, in turn, ultimately responsible to the owners (capitalists)"

IMO, the perfect analogy. Maybe the U$A posters will "get it."

Posted by: ben | Jun 19 2019 21:04 utc | 42

Bolton is Trump’s Colonel House. House was influential in plucking Woodrow Wilson out of academia and getting him elected President in 1912 and then he moved into the White House with Wilson. He became in Wilson’s words his “alter ego.” House was right next to Wilson when he signed the Federal Reserve Act, something Wilson later said he bitterly regretted doing. House was a most shadowy figure – he wasn’t even a real colonel -, having performed similar roles with various governors of Texas as if in preparation for his moment on the big stage – and a long moment it was with an allegedly decisive role in Versailles in 1919.

I saw warning signals back on the campaign trail when Trump was asked who he admired in politics and he replied after a pause John Bolton. Then I thought of Obama and Rahm Emanuel, his chief of staff. It struck me that maybe all of us are susceptible to somebody who can get a hold on us, who can grasp our insecurities and ingratiate themselves into our thinking processes. The elites work on this. Jack Kennedy had his brother as his sort of alter-ego so there was no opportunity there – which is maybe why he got shot.

Posted by: Lochearn | Jun 19 2019 21:35 utc | 43

Trump's father became so frustrated with Donald's bullying and reckless behavior that he packed him off to military academy to learn some manners and self-control. Legend has it that Trump thrived in that environment and graduated in 1964. He also studied economics and has a Law degree. One imagines that a military academy graduate must have learned something about governance, leadership, pecking orders, power plays and the US Constitution.

Anyone who assumes DJT is stupid or naiive probably needs to do some homework...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 19 2019 21:38 utc | 44

Hoarsewhisperer "Anyone who assumes DJT is stupid or naiive probably needs to do some homework". I think prospective Private Donald ‘bone spurs’ Trump would have made a good General, [too late now, he is too old] maybe one of the greatest Generals in history. If only he had signed up. /S
Seems Rex Tillerson was right about Trump and agrees with this HL Mencken quote.
“As democracy is perfected, the office of President represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron”.

Posted by: Harry Law | Jun 19 2019 22:06 utc | 45

The Middle East a smoking ruin. Floods of Arab refugees pouring into Europe. Russia and China sitting back and waiting to pick up the pieces. Do those people actually think beyond the next step? I wouldn't want to be a European Jew for the next few decades. You can be burnt from the bottom up, as easily as from the top down. Lets just go kick the hornets nest, cause we are tough guys. Where. Are. The. Brain. Cells?

Posted by: John Merryman | Jun 19 2019 22:07 utc | 46

TIME: President Trump Calls Alleged Iranian Attack on Oil Tankers 'Very Minor'

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 19 2019 22:10 utc | 47

Does it really matter if the good cop/bad cop scenario is true or if Trump is just their useful idiot? Thus far, the difference is academic.

Posted by: Ash | Jun 19 2019 22:24 utc | 48

Promotion of War Crimes: Wheat as a Weapon:

"A fellow at a think tank bankrolled by the US gov, NATO, and arms industry insists that 'wheat is a weapon' that can 'be used to apply pressure on the Assad regime.'

"The impact this would have on civilians was not mentioned, of course."

Now we know what nation's responsible for the recent firing of wheat and other agricultural fields in Syria--The Outlaw US Empire of course: Never met a War Crime it didn't want to employ itself as current and historic evidence proves. Such people ought to be lobotomized.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 19 2019 22:26 utc | 49

Iran did it, they are competent, we can't find our rear end

CENTCOM gave a scenario that finally made sense, they said that an IRGC boat approached the two tankers at night and attacked the 'mines'. This would explain why it was above the waterline and it would take great skill to do this with no injury and without being detected.

Now look at the U.S., the tanker was sitting their in broad daylight for about 10hrs and we couldn't even get ONE decent picture of an unexploded bomb sitting on the side of hull. And when the IRGC finally did show up, even our high resolution pictures were a joke and we are the SIGINT champions with hi-tech drones. Also, this means that the IRGC was able to slip into a port on the other side of the Persian Gulf and attack mines to 4 tankers undetected.

Prediction: if we do get into a fight with the Iranians we are in for a very rude awakening. All of this talk about their rusted out military is total BS. If ONLY that fool Tom Cotton would be the one to pay the price instead of some 20 yr old kid.

Posted by: Christian J Chuba | Jun 19 2019 22:31 utc | 50

Perhaps the admin senses that the end is approaching and are trying to wreak maximum havoc and damage while they are able. Like Bolton will serve in next admin.

Posted by: jared | Jun 19 2019 22:33 utc | 51

By minimizing the Oman Gulf incidents, maybe it is way for the White House under Bolton's control to show that it is not impressed nor feeling threatened.
it is also encouraging the perpetrators of the attacks to do more provocations and ideally to kill an American...

It is an open invitations to whoever wants to harm Iran to come out more brutally.

Posted by: Virgile | Jun 19 2019 22:45 utc | 52

@ Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 19, 2019 5:38:47 PM | 43

“. . . [Trump] studied economics and has a Law degree.”

He has a BA in economics and was given an honorary law degree from Liberty so-called “University,” a diploma mill dedicated to churning out brain-dead, right-wing religious fanatics.

Posted by: AntiSpin | Jun 19 2019 22:52 utc | 53

OK now boys and girls I am about to give you the real inside scoop!!!

Here goes!

The first thing to consider is the fact that the U.S.A. is right on the cusp of the greatest economic debacle in the history of the world.

This will make the fall of the U.S.S.R. look like one side plate with a busted egg yolk at the House of Pancakes. You really do need a little something to handle the optics around something like that. Surely a fake 'war with Iran' would help.

Trump could claim to have smashed Iran's deep underground bunkers, even it it's just a big nothing with lots of black smoke. Who would ever know the difference?

Bolton will get all the blame and have to accept a teaching position at the University of Argentina.

Posted by: blues | Jun 19 2019 22:52 utc | 54

Ash @47: does it really matter?

Yes, it does matter. Millions of American are ready to send their loved ones to die for "freedom and democracy" that propaganda claims USA champions. Trump as "useful idiot" just means that they elected the wrong guy. Trump as complicit in the dog and pony show means there is no democracy.

Smart people have already described how the system is rigged so that we have a "managed democracy" that mostly works for the "those that matter". Research from Princeton economists have described America as a plutocracy with an "inverted totalitarian" form of government. I have written many times at MoA of a adjunct to that theory: the faux populist leadership model. Obama and Trump are the poster boys for this, though it was mostly developed in the Clinton years.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 19 2019 22:56 utc | 55

That Iranian seaman who is alleged to have pulled off a possibly unstable, unexploded mine wearing nothing but a rubber life jacket thus endangering his life and all his crew mates and survivors in the small boat is the action of a lunatic. Or maybe it never happened.

Posted by: Harry Law | Jun 19 2019 23:03 utc | 56

Hoarsewhisperer @43,

What is the particular childish naïveté of Americans who believe that learning a system inevitably leads to a willingness to support and uphold it instead of exploiting it for personal gain?

You have to go back.

Posted by: Jonathan | Jun 19 2019 23:03 utc | 57

Uncle Jon @16
You are right. My apologies. The optics would be horrible in my version.

Posted by: wagelaborer | Jun 19 2019 23:14 utc | 58

>> Posted by: blues | Jun 19, 2019 6:52:22 PM | 53

Do tell!

With trillion dollar deficits pre-recession, the fiscal situation looks dire. Once recession hits, tax revenue will plummet. Then, either they QE even more trillions or they cut the MIC (measured in terms of purchasing power, if not nominally). Or both. But, the rest of the world will suffer nominally as well. So, the dollar might remain a “cleaner dirty shirt”.

It’s a difficult environment to invest in. Everything seems pricey. But, with currency depreciation via QE, everything might become even pricier.

Posted by: oglalla | Jun 19 2019 23:30 utc | 59

Harry Law @55--

Life jackets aren't rubber! Try and get the story straight! Plus, you missed that the limpet mine comes with a cloaking device that once placed onto the deck of any Iranian boat it's rendered invisible! Honestly, we spend a lot of time dreaming up these narratives, so the very least you can do is copy/paste properly!

On a serious note, I scanned a great many pictures of small boats and didn't come up with one example of the one shown in the video. Finding one ought to be easy since it has numerous unique features, most of which I commented upon. Has USN released a complete undoctored video of the limpet removal yet? I thought not. As with the incident with the Russian ship where USN didn't release the entire video taken from the stand-off helo because it proved USN at fault, there won't be any release of this other video for the same reason--it proves zip, nada, nothing.

Otherwise, I'd like to get myself one of those Iranian boats, minus the machine gun, as it looks like an excellent fishing platform, although it lacks a cuddy and below deck stowage room.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 19 2019 23:38 utc | 60

There's been a shift in the dialogue, to some degree, to a discussion of the overall US role in the Gulf area.

Speaking to TIME, Trump argued that the Gulf of Oman[sic] is less strategically important for the United States now than it used to be, citing China and Japan as nations that still rely on the region for significant proportions of their oil. “Other places get such vast amounts of oil there,” Trump said. “We get very little. We have made tremendous progress in the last two and a half years in energy. And when the pipelines get built, we’re now an exporter of energy. So we’re not in the position that we used to be in in the Middle East where … some people would say we were there for the oil.” . .here

Air Force Gen. Paul Selva, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters at a roundtable that countries that benefit most from the movement of oil through the Gulf need to take an active role in its security. . . .“The circumstances are very different now than they were in the 1980s,” Selva said. "If you think back to the reflagging operation, the ‘Tanker War,’ as it was nicknamed, where we reflagged and escorted tankers so that they could flow in and out of the Strait of Hormuz, we got a substantial amount of our oil from the Persian Gulf.. . .“We are now in a position where the bulk of that oil goes to … countries in Asia, and none of those countries have shown any predilection to pressing Iran to stop what they are doing. What was true in the 1980s, is not true today. We are not wholly dependent on the movement of Saudi, Kuwaiti, Qatari and Emirati oil in and out of the Gulf to sustain our economy.”. .here

A broadening of the security mission in the Gulf area would be a positive step. Imagine the navies of China, India and Japan taking a role! The price would be a removal of Iran sanctions, because these countries want Iran oil! . . .I can dream.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 20 2019 0:00 utc | 61

Hoarsewhisperer @ 43

“. . . [Trump] studied economics and has a Law degree.”

Hot damn! And Dubya attended and graduated from Yale University (Bachelor of Arts, majoring in history) and later Harvard Business School (MBA).

Posted by: Jen | Jun 20 2019 0:01 utc | 62

In the current circs (esp after announcement of the latest Red Line) why write only about the possibility of an ISIS missile landing on a US position being that it wd be “errant”?

Posted by: Helena C | Jun 20 2019 0:05 utc | 63

All lies and BS since 1939. Our civilisation is heading for a cliff of our making.

Posted by: John | Jun 20 2019 0:06 utc | 64

Wage Laborer @ 15, 57, Uncle Jon @ 16:

After reading WL's comments, I had a vision of the photographer contacting the sniper by mobile phone and berating the fellow for killing Neda Agha Soltan in the head and telling him to find another beautiful young Iranian woman protester and to shoot her in the chest.

Posted by: Jen | Jun 20 2019 0:07 utc | 65

People should know that since the end of the secret Civil War fought in the shadows that lasted 10 years , the Illuminated Globalists seized control of government and much of elite society from the Nationalists . Every President beginning with Carter has been controlled and is no more than a figure head (Bush Sr excepted as he was one of the leaders of this treasonous group). Before Carter their were also controlled Presidents but also some who were not (famous controlled Presidents in 20th century - Theodore Roosevelt, Wilson , FDR (first 3 terms), Truman, LBJ)

The real government and decisions are made in the shadows. Every 4 years people are given choices of approved candidates to vote for. Who wins is not an issue for those at the top although lower level members may have a financial interest in backing a certain candidate. On matters of importance though, every President is controllable and acts out his part. The puppet media goes along with the fiction and has its own orders to create divisions and support the shadow masters agenda.

These shadow masters are descendants from the illuminated creators of Communism meant to dupe the working class into surrendering their freedom and property. Today Monopoly capitalism (neoliberalism) is the label but its virtually the same as Communism. Both are under central bank control, use  MSM and social media, hollywood, legal and education systems, money, GMO food, health and medicine/vaccines and corrupted science to convince people harmful products (vaccines, RF EMF radiation, glyphosate, GMO) are safe and safe products (CO2) are unsafe.

The psychology behind Propaganda and Mind Control has been extensively studied and weaponized for the assault on peoples minds -- it works and works well. In particular these techniques are used to dumb down, confuse and distract the populations.

Total success has imprisoned people in a Matrix. Escape is possible but simply means escape into a different form of prison where you are surrounded by undead who see white as black and who are like talking to your dog,- barking in incredibility , rage or laughter at your rantings, and the elite who wish to crush you like a bug if you make too much noise.

Whispering now “ Welcome to 1984”

Posted by: Pft | Jun 20 2019 0:08 utc | 66

Don Bacon--

Wrote an answer to you on previous thread you'll find here.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 20 2019 0:18 utc | 67

Pft @ 65 another excellent post.

For all those who think DJT is a moron, he isn't. He's a first class grifter.

Posted by: ben | Jun 20 2019 0:21 utc | 68

@42 lochearn - Thank you for sharing the story of Woodrow Wilson and Colonel House! I have never heard about that. I'm going to do some research.

Posted by: roza shanina | Jun 20 2019 0:45 utc | 69

@42 lochearn.. thanks.. i didn't know that, but it, along with the suggestion sheldon adelson wanted bolton in the position, makes a lot of sense..

@48 karlof1... thanks for yet another example of something horrific coming from the neocon mentality that is being played out by the present usa admin.. i recall the video you shared on a previous thread of the wheat fields in sdf held area afire.. the armed forces of the usa must make sure they remain braindead to this, or they will do something honourable like chelsea manning and be charged 500$ a day for holding to it ( the price manning is paying for not providing the usa version of Sondergericht with the proper information..

@54 jackrabbit.. i agree with ash... it really doesn't matter.. the usa is fucked either way and innocent people, whether americans or 'no name folks'( how americans see others outside the usa) in faraway lands - it matters not to these fuckers gunning for war 24/7...

@ 61 jen... hoarsewhisperer drinks pat lang koolaid on a regular basis with regard to trump..

@67 ben.. just so you and others know, when i say trump is a twit and a fool, it doesn't mean i think he is a moron/idiot.. self serving fucker is basically how i see him.. grifter is a great way to describe him too..

Posted by: james | Jun 20 2019 0:49 utc | 70

>> These shadow masters are descendants from the illuminated creators of Communism meant to dupe the working class into surrendering their freedom and property. Today Monopoly capitalism (neoliberalism) is the label but its virtually the same as Communism.

I strongly disagree with you here, pft.

First, Communists raise the living standards of the poor. Capitalists raise the living standards of the “already wealthy”. The difference is noticeable.

Second, capitalists have been lying about who were and are the global aggressors. Capitalists have been mass-murdering each other since Athens vs Sparta and then joined forces to mass-murder communists for a few decades last century. Even now that outright communism is practically non-existent again, capitalists wage war against each other and mass-murder anyone standing between them and resources.

Posted by: oglalla | Jun 20 2019 0:52 utc | 71

The swing producers will spring the market, and if supply dries up to a certain extent, landed markets will explode (invisible hand style)
Best wishes, JM

Posted by: Bernalkid | Jun 20 2019 0:57 utc | 72

@22 murgen23 "What were doing the IRGC along the tanker if not removing something from the hull. How do they even know there was something there of interrest."

Oh, fer' cyin' out loud!

They were inspecting the hull of the tanker for damage.
There was a magnet that was attached to the side of the hull.
What do you think they would do once they spotted that magnet?

I mean, get real: even the USA admits that there was a magnet sticking out of the side of that tanker - heck, for all I know it is still there - and so any boat working its way along the length of that tanker is going to see that magnet and is going to want to move in for a closer look at it.

Get it?

It is the *only* explanation that makes sense.

1) We are expected to accept that the Bainbridge has been there for FOUR HOURS and yet it made not the slightest attempt to disarm the limpet mine? Utter bulls**t.
2) We are expected to accept that the Bainbridge had that Iranian boat under complete observation and yet it can not produce a single photo showing a "limpet mine" in the hands of one of the crewmen or onboard an glorified runabout? Utter bulls**t.
3) We are expected to accept that the crew of the Bainbridge ACTUALLY SAW an Iranian boat take possession of an unexploded limpet mine in international waters and then made not the slightest attempt to dispossess them of that oh-so-damning evidence? Utter bullsh**t.

There is only one explanation that makes sense: someone attached two limpet mines to the starboard side of that tanker while it was in port, watched it sail off through the strait of Hormuz, and then watched as the mid-ship limpet mine fell off into the sea leaving one of its magnets still attached to the hull.

Everything flows from that: the one remaining limpet mine explodes, Bainbridge arrives in response to the distress call and is not at all perturbed because there was no unexploded limpet mine sticking out the side of the tanker like a sore thumb. The Iranians send out a boat to inspect the damage and when they see the magnet they move in to have a closer look. The Bainbridge witnesses all of that and photograph it from every angle.

The USA does all that but can't produce a single photo of that boat inspecting / retrieving / carrying off a limpet mine for one single reason: by the time that Iranian boat arrived THE LIMPET MINE HAD ALREADY FALLEN OFF.

All that was left was a magnet, which would be a curiosity to the Iranians but nothing more.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jun 20 2019 1:04 utc | 73

James, I always recall Aristotle arguing that it is "power" over money that men seek, because with power one can have anything. Regarding Trump's role in this bad, good, or crazy, it's curious that it's a mystery. No one's giving t away, that anyway seems clever!

Posted by: Geoff | Jun 20 2019 1:09 utc | 74

You would think there was a slow down in crop pesticide application due to inclement weather, as well as lower fuel use?
Really stupid to ask, sure all those lifted 4x4 are clever work around for anthropogenic climate change.
See dead zone is increased, rain and larger discharge.

Posted by: Bernalkid | Jun 20 2019 1:09 utc | 75

james @69--

Note the Stink Tank involved is linked to the D Party providing further evidence that Neoconism is bipartisan.

Trump's words as cited in the article snippet provided by Don @60 shows he doesn't have a clue about the reality of oil extraction within the USA or the reality of further pipelines being built. In oh so many ways, Trump's like W and lives in a bubble. As for the nations buying ME oil being involved in that region's security, they would demand an immediate change in Outlaw US Empire policy that would change the entire dynamic and further lower oil price, which goes against Saudi and Imperial policy of trying to get it over $70.

Looking forward to Putin's call-in & answer show tomorrow as it always provides surprises.

And as I predicted, Houthi forces will likely escalate as today's cruise missile strike indicates, after which this warning was issued:

"Yemeni armed forces require civilians in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates to move away from airports and military locations."

Maximum Pressure, indeed!

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 20 2019 1:22 utc | 76

Thank you Hoarsewhisperer #43, Exactly that, Trump is no fool. He is a successful shakedown merchant who has appointed a mighty muscular team of bullies and thugs to achieve his objectives. There is no certainty that he has control over the circumstances of the operational execution.

Others have surprises too it seems.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jun 20 2019 1:25 utc | 77

Yeah, Right @72--

I like your hypothesis except what's being called a magnet is far too small to secure a 54kg limpet mine, even if it was one of several. I also find it close to impossible that such a device would escape notice if it was emplaced while the tanker was lading. What the crew reports as seeing and hearing a flying object prior to the explosion still provides the best explanation for the damage extent and lack of any evidence to examine--the suicide drone blew-up, what remained sank and is now spread across the sea floor. One certain outcome is further degradation of USN credibility.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 20 2019 1:35 utc | 78

And by the way, your account of the Shanahans intrafamily events, B, are downplaying, at least as far as the son's attack on the mother is concerned. She then had a fractured skull and other injuries. That has nothing to say in the current political context, but one should remain accurate with such things, even when they are irrelevant in the given context. I would rephrase this bit.

Posted by: Pnyx | Jun 20 2019 1:50 utc | 79

I'm just going to leave this one here. How far along are we?

Posted by: Maximus | Jun 20 2019 1:56 utc | 80

Thank you Yeah, Right # 72. Magnet on hull proposition sounds sane and reasonable conclusion to me. Was the ship nudged out of port by a tug? I guess so. Maybe that was the attachment moment? Certainly the sailor up front on that Iranian vessel did not grab a 47 kilo limpet off the hull and neither did he quickly remove a magnet base that was likely secured something fierce to the hull. A magnet capable of supporting near 50 kilos + wave surge energy could only be removed with a long lever anyway. There was no lever in that video. Those magnet bases appear to be nailed or screwed on and could not be simply detached in the time shown in the video. (see post above referencing twitter images etc). How could a diver even connect that weight that far up the hull from the water line? with a bamboo pole?

If the Iranians were defusing something then a ship full of crew with no safety gear was no way to go and Iranian seamen are not stupid.

This is entirely a fake setup. Silence from the Democrat presidential hopefuls is depressing but maybe I am not looking hard enough. I am not inclined to anyway as the absurd situation in the USA where there is no opposition leader is simply abjectly ignorant.

Peace please and give humanity a break.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jun 20 2019 2:16 utc | 81

100,000 killed in Yemen report finds. Points blame to air strikes

Posted by: Ninel | Jun 20 2019 2:23 utc | 82

@73 geoff... they seem inter related to me.. usually the folks fixated on one, are fixated on the other too... but you are right - they are not the same and maybe it really is power, as opposed to money, that they are focused on.. either way it is a sick obsession and i hope they suffer for it..

@75 karlof1... the whole dems-repub enchilada is a joke.. they are all in it together serving the same.. please keep us posted on the interview with putin.. i am very curious.. i am going to be out all day tomorrow and not back til friday.. cheers

Posted by: james | Jun 20 2019 2:34 utc | 84

Karlof 31 another recent clip is "EU’s Mogherini says Iran’s interference in Middle East ‘not positive’" for some balance, citing Yemen and Syria. You know trying is not good enough in these matters, and talk is just that. It seems that the real interest is to secure the western middle east and open contained trade with Iran, but this is clearly not possible and they know that, due to the question of proliferation now or in future, it being something the US and allies will not tolerate. Iran has watched Libya and Iraq and I think feels obliged to maintain or increase its capability, hence there will not be any better deal than the current one. EU is the reasonable hand of an outcome that cannot be achieved, to pin belief that it will not usher in war somehow is foolish in my opinion. Obviously it will only usually deal in soft power and so keeps face, but it serves the same masters as the more actively hostile nations. Put another way, why sanctions? Syria and Yemen didn't roll over. EU wants Syria and Yemen rolled. The rest is show, and not one of trying to keep the US happy by just verbally backing those two projects to keep it appeased.

Posted by: Anon | Jun 20 2019 2:38 utc | 85

Lochearn | Jun 19, 2019 5:35:35 PM | 42
roza shanina | Jun 19, 2019 8:45:28 PM | 68

Posted by: Desolation Row | Jun 20 2019 2:41 utc | 86

Many are suggesting the no evidence of a mine attached to the hull has been produced. In addition not evidence of a mine being transported in an Iranian boat has been produced.

As we have been supplied with a grainy dark video, then a few days later, high resolution photographs.

What makes you think further "evidence" will not be waved around at the UNSC meeting a la "phials of white powder".

Posted by: OhOh | Jun 20 2019 2:45 utc | 87

@ uncle tungsten | Jun 19, 2019 2:54:09 PM #8

I like your theory of fool and 'clever schemer'. Likely Bolton tells DJT he is smarter than Reagan, Bush Senior, Clinton, Bush Junior, and Obama. Anybody think DJT would deny this? Then Bolton would say "let's play this game with" Iran/North Korea/whoever. "I'll be the bad guy and you'll be the good guy."

Notice how only a egotistical fool would buy into such a scheme. Once events reach a tipping point, Bolton wins. And so does the apartheid Jewish state.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Jun 20 2019 3:04 utc | 88

@77 karlof1 "I like your hypothesis except what's being called a magnet is far too small to secure a 54kg limpet mine, even if it was one of several"

Karlof, look here:

You can see the pattern of dents made in the hull by the other magnets.
I count 14 dents, though it may be a few more or a few less.

Equally important are the two holes which were very clearly made by a nail-gun firing some restraining bolts into the hull.

It was a limpet mine, though I doubt very much that it was anything near 54kg.
The ring of dents suggest something much smaller and lighter, like a satchel-charge.

It certainly WASN'T the limpet mine that is shown at the bottom of that linked article, precisely because it doesn't have the eyelets that would be necessary for securing the mine to a hull via retaining bolts.

"I also find it close to impossible that such a device would escape notice if it was emplaced while the tanker was lading."

Again, I don't think that it was anything near as big as is being claimed by sources without any evidence. Judging from those photos it was more like a satchel charge. Small(ish) and if painted then difficult to see.

Note that all the charges on both ships were on the starboard side. Which would be mighty odd if the Iranians did it because Iran is the port-side of the ships as they travelled down the strait of Hormuz.

But understandable *if* the dock-side facilities in UAE ports require ships to dock port-side: the starboard side would then be exposed to a small boat in the wee, wee, small hours of the night.

It is entirely possible that the mid-ships charge had fallen off very early, maybe even as the ship was leaving harbour: does anyone know if the UAE authorities are nervously indulging in a bit of unplanned dredging of one of their harbours?

"What the crew reports as seeing and hearing a flying object prior to the explosion still provides the best explanation for the damage extent and lack of any evidence to examine--the suicide drone blew-up, what remained sank and is now spread across the sea floor."

I would not place much emphasis on that. After all, if this was a state-sanctioned false-flag operation then the responsible party would send drone aloft to record the resulting carnage.

…."the suicide drone"...

Again, I'll refer you to the photos in that linked article: a ring of round dents and two small holes are consistent with a small satchel-charge or small limpet mine that is attached by rare-earth magnets and a couple of restraining bolts driven through fastening eyelets into the hull itself.

A classic belts-and-braces method of attaching a device to a metal surface, and utterly impossible to do from a suicide drone.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jun 20 2019 3:04 utc | 89

@79 relinking here

Posted by: Maximus | Jun 20 2019 3:05 utc | 90

Oh Oh. Not good. People in that part of the world take these things very serious. Martyrs will be lining up.

Posted by: Uncle Jon | Jun 20 2019 3:07 utc | 91

@86 OhOh "What makes you think further "evidence" will not be waved around at the UNSC meeting a la "phials of white powder". "

I have no problem with the idea that the US military needs to go through a declassifying routine before releasing stuff, and so that stuff is released in dribs and drabs.

But when they decide they can release a still imagine from a hi-def video then why release a still that *doesn't* actually show the mine itself?

A few frames earlier (the mine still on the hull as the boat approaches), a few frames later (the dude cradling the limpet mine in his arms). Either would do the trick, why release the one still that *doesn't* show what you claim you are showing?

There are only two explanations I can think of:
a) There was no limpet mine when the Iranian boat pulled alongside the tanker, and releasing a still of that boat still approaching the hull would show that.
b) The USA can indeed produce can't-be-denied evidence but knows that doing so commits it to a showdown with Iran. So the military is waiting while the war-hawks fight it out with the don't-do-it-Donald! faction in the White House.

I am convinced it is (a), but I admit it might be (b).

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jun 20 2019 3:23 utc | 92

The Lindsey Graham article is emblematic of the pressures Trump is under. With so many murderous thugs in the congress and in his administration, there is only so much he can resist and then god help us all.

We, the citizens of this country have to wake up, and soon, to stop this madness.

He is calling to put their refineries in the hit list and sink their Navy. Talk about a murderous thug. And as if Iranians will have no answer for that. After sinking the aircraft carrier sitting dock in Bahrain, they will go after the other real murderous thugs, i.e. KSA, UAE and Israel. If they are going to go down, they will take everybody down with them.

Russia and China better get into action fast before it is all gone.

Posted by: Uncle Jon | Jun 20 2019 3:29 utc | 93

President Bolton theory?

Actually, it is closer to President Adelson. Adelson controls both Trump and Bolton, as well as Netanyahu. Apparently Adelson "suggested" Bolton to Trump. Adelson also seems to want a war with Iran, among other pro-zionist positions.

In any case, I don't suppose we should neglect the relatively silent puppet masters off stage.

Posted by: Blue | Jun 20 2019 3:44 utc | 94

Any US war with Iran means that it will quickly go nuclear. That is the only way that the US can hope to have a reasonable chance of prevailing against Iran, since any attack on Iran is likely to see a rapid rise in US casualties.

The US will not be expecting to have any casualties since, as in Syria, it will not be expecting the Iranians to strike back for fear of an even bigger retaliation.

Either way, the US is headed for its "Suez Moment".

Posted by: jiri | Jun 20 2019 3:53 utc | 95

So Baby Trump is a hostage of the big, bad mean 'ol Neocons he hired?

Just like Baby Dubya was a hostage of big, bad Cheney.

So, Trump wanted the most biting sanctions, but he's so innocent when he let's loose his attack dog Bolton?

The theory that Trump is a naive dupe that is uninvolved when he tweets things like Winter is Coming is utterly laughable and I'm sick to death of this excuse for the menacing and escalating threats against Iran.

I hope not to read this kind of whitewash again. Trump was obsessed with obliterating the Iran deal! For a reason! What's the point of this? You want Trump to stay??? OF COURSE IT'S THE SECOND OPTION (the politically favorable good cop routine) AND WAR WILL START DAY ONE OF HIS SECOND TERM. Trump knows a sucker is born every day. He thrives on that notion and is milking it for all it's worth.

Posted by: Circe | Jun 20 2019 3:58 utc | 96

Yeah, Right @88--

Thanks for the link to the additional pics. Specs and some commentary on Iranian limpet mine are available here. Note diameter 550mm (21.6535inches), 30+kg explosive charge and 42kg weight. Since we've been treated to a photo measuring the attached item, we can get a good estimate of the devices diameter which tells us the distance between the dents (I count 8) is quite less than the mine's diameter. Your rant about USN obvious lack of action given the obviousness of something being there I certainly share, which tells us quite a lot. I'll need to go back and watch the grainy video again to see if that attached item's visible. Of course, why would the Iranians leave the one item if it was merely an attached magnet? I'm sure I have more to write, but it's time to quit for the day. Thanks again!

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 20 2019 4:10 utc | 97

Bolton was probably in the fine print of Trump's deal with Adelson. Definitely have suspicions Trump is actively involved in the whole plan, but not sure how people can say that Trump is a smart individual and/or possibly leading this whole thing?

He is about as self-aware as a fire hydrant.

No way his controllers will risk another election before they drop the match. Why would they?

Posted by: Zack | Jun 20 2019 4:24 utc | 98

Reading info Iran just obtained another imperial drone. rq-4 global hawk

Posted by: Notjohnhelmer | Jun 20 2019 4:38 utc | 99

Re the limpet mine and magnet. Pics of an Iranian limpet mine linked by karlof1 show an aluminium flange. I guess in the exceptional wonder world, aluminium can be stuck to steel with a magnet.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 20 2019 5:24 utc | 100

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