Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 16, 2019

How Trump's "Maximum Pressure" Campaign Against Iran Now Works Against Him

There is no evidence that Iran was behind Friday's attack on tankers in the Gulf of Oman.

There are many parties in the Middle East and in the United States who are interested in goading the U.S. into a military confrontation with Iran. Most of these parties have the capability to launch clandestine attacks on civilian vessels. That the U.S. government would blame Iran for any such attack is obvious. But even Israeli analysts doubt that Iran is responsible for the recent incidents. The German government doubts that video the U.S. presented shows anything of significance. Others point at the suspicious timing of the incident.


Israel is of course the foremost candidate for such a false flag attack. Prime Minister Netanyahoo agitated against Iran for the last 25 years. He multiple times threatened to directly attack the country but would prefer that the U.S. would do so. The Israeli clandestine service Mossad is capable of far reaching operations. Israel's submarines are known to have operated in the Arab Sea.

The Saudis are under pressure from Houthi forces at their southern borders. The Houthi receive some material support from Iran. If the U.S. would attack Iran, the Saudis would be relieved. The Saudis need oil prices way above the current $60 per barrel to finance their state. Anything that drives up the price, like the tanker attacks, is obviously in their interest. The murder of Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey demonstrated that the Saudis developed extensive clandestine capabilities and have no qualms to use them. 

The Saudi partner in crime in Yemen are the United Arab Emirates under the ruthless control of Mohammad bin Zayed. Bin Zayed is a major instigator of the anti-Iranian U.S. policies. Bin Zayed hired Eric Prince of Blackwater fame to build him a mercenary army. Prince is a former U.S. Navy SEAL, a military operator trained in clandestine operations at sea. Secretly putting a sticky bomb onto some ship is exactly what SEALs learn to do.

U.S. President Donald Trump hired several Iran haters into his administration. His National Security Advisor John Bolton has for years agitated for regime change in Tehran. Bolton is known for circumventing the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He directly communicates with lower levels in the U.S. military and with its regional commanders. The U.S. Central Command now claims that:

"a modified Iranian SA-7 surface-to-air missile attempted to shoot down a US MQ-9, at 6:45am local time, June 13, over the Gulf of Oman, to disrupt surveillance of the (Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) attack on the M/T Kokuka Courageous...”

Sure - that must be right. Just like the CENTCOM claim that the tankers were damaged by limpet mines, which are ineffective when used above the waterline of a ship. The Japanese owner of the Kokuka Courageous says that CENTCOM lies, and that the ship was attacked by "flying objects". The MQ9 Reaper drone is a surveillance platform but it is also capable of firing missiles. If the new CENTCOM claim is true where is the drone video of the "Iranian attack"? How can we be sure that it wasn't a U.S. drone that fired missiles at the Japanese ship?

There is of course also the CIA. Two years ago it formed a new mission center to attack Iran:

The Iran Mission Center will bring together analysts, operations personnel and specialists from across the CIA to bring to bear the range of the agency’s capabilities, including covert action.
To lead the new group, Mr. Pompeo picked a veteran intelligence officer, Michael D’Andrea, who recently oversaw the agency’s program of lethal drone strikes and has been credited by many of his peers for successes against al Qaeda in the U.S.’s long campaign against the terrorist group.
Mr. D’Andrea, a former director of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, is known among peers as a demanding but effective manager, and a convert to Islam who works long hours. Some U.S. officials have expressed concern over what they perceive as his aggressive stance toward Iran.

One wonders what D’Andrea, with his experience in directing drone strikes, worked on throughout the last two years. What operations did he plan?

We know that false flags attacks are as American as apple pie. The Boston Tea Party was committed by colonial settlers camouflaged as Indians. Remember the Maine? The Gulf of Tonkin "attack" that never happened? The fake chemical attacks staged by U.S. paid actors to then be blamed on the Syrian government?

There are also a number of non-state actors who might have been involved in the tanker attacks. The MEK cult is known for committing terrorist attacks against Iran. But it is not the only group. Over the last two year alone Baluch terrorists at the Pakistani Iranian border, Arab separatists of the Ahvaz movement, the Islamic State and Kurdish groups all launched terror attacks against Iran. All these groups are financed by one or the other state actors listed above. With practically unlimited money available, they all might have developed the necessary capabilities to damage some tanker.

All the above actors have motives and the potential capability to launch attacks that they can then blame on Iran. It is no wonder then that everyone calls bullshit when Secretary of State Pompeo claims that "only Iran" could have done it. There is simply no evidence - as in zero - that Iran committed the attacks.

It is also no wonder then that even avid Moon of Alabama readers doubt this authors reporting that Iran's new strategy is to put "maximum pressure" on Trump. It sounded outlandish when it was first developed in the update to this post. But if one puts oneself into the shoes of Iranian decision makers, it suddenly becomes a realistic assessment.

A day after our first reporting on the new Iranian strategy Asia Times confirmed that the concept exists:

[T]his kind of non-lethal warning, which caused a spike in oil prices, has been in the hardline Iranian playbook since the Trump administration signaled it would take steps to squeeze the Islamic republic’s ability to sell its petroleum.

“It was being debated even before the oil waivers were revoked [in November], but largely as a possible response to an attempt to zero [eliminate] Iran’s exports,” an Iranian source told Asia Times on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak on the matter.

The idea behind this, says the Asia Times source, is to push the Saudis to tell Trump to lower the pressure on Iran:

“If MBZ tells Trump that it’s time to slow down the maximum pressure policy that is very different than [Japanese President Shinzo] Abe calling for negotiations,” the source said.

But to slow down Trump's maximum pressure policy against Iran is not sufficient. What Iran wants to do is, as we argued, to eliminate Trump's maximum pressure campaign by putting maximum pressure on Trump.

Elijah Magnier is known to have access to high level sources in Tehran. He reported last night:

Informed sources close to Iranian decision makers repeated the words of President Hassan Rouhani and the Iranian advisor to Sayyed Khamenei for international affairs, Ali Akbar Velayati, namely that “if Iran can’t export oil through the Persian Gulf, no-one in the Middle East will be able do this”. The source “expects further attacks in the future, given the US decision to stop the flow of oil by all means at all costs. Thus, oil will stop being delivered to the world if Iran can’t export its two million barrels per day”.

“Tensions in the Gulf can be eased only when sanctions are lifted on Iran. Otherwise, more objectives may be targeted and the level of tension will gradually increase. [..] If Iran is in pain, the rest of the world will suffer equally,” said the source.
President Trump is betting on maintaining the status-quo. This doesn’t suit Iran, because its economy will suffer dearly. Binding the deep economic wound and holding on until Trump ends his first mandate is playing into Trump’s hand and this is not going to happen. The tension in the Gulf was generated when Trump decided to pull out of the nuclear deal (known as the JCPOA). Let him pay the price now. If Iran cannot export its crude oil it means the country must be ready for war”, continue the source.

"If you want maximum pressure," Iran tells Trump, "we are able to deliver that."

No Iranian official will of course ever confirm this publicly.

What makes the situation confusing and the reasoning counterintuitive is that Iran and some of its enemies now have the very same tactical interests. Both sides now want to increase the heat in the region. That guarantees that more such attacks will happen. There are many, many potential targets for this campaign.

Current loaded tanker traffic in the Middle East

via Tanker Trackers - bigger

Iran's enemies hope that more attacks on tankers will goad Trump, and his British sidekicks, into a military conflict with Iran.

Iran calculates that Trump will see the danger and recognize that such a conflict would ruin his presidency. That he will accept that he has to revoke the sanctions and rejoin the nuclear deal to avoid to be blamed for unprecedented oil prices and catastrophic consequences for the global economy.

We can expect that the cat and mouse game will continue throughout the next twelve month. Trump will be under pressure from both sides. Next spring or summer is the latest point for him to decide either way. Until then we will see more casualties of this new tanker war.

Iran's enemies as well as Iran itself now have an interest that more attacks on tankers happen. But unless there is very convincing independent evidence we will never know who will have committed these. There are simply too many players who have motives and the capabilities to make such attacks happen. All of them have plausible reasons to damage more ships. All of them have plausible deniability. It is this what makes the current situation so dangerous. Luckily the problem can be easily solved.

The one who caused this conflict is Donald Trump. He is also the one who can immediately end it.

Posted by b on June 16, 2019 at 12:57 UTC | Permalink

next page »

Some say we would not have invaded Iraq if Bush had not been elected.
However, the difference between Joe Lieberman and Dick Cheney is as thin as a dime.
Gore's foreign policy advisors were Zionists. The internal contest in the Gore administration would have been whether to attack Iraq or Iran first.

Posted by: librul | Jun 16 2019 13:11 utc | 1

Nice summary of possibilities that have already been well-covered during the previous three days now paving the way for more of the same endlessly almost fascinating conjecture....sigh.

But you are definitely correct: someone did this for some reason. (oil price, WWIII, further proof that China is morally superiour to the evil outlaw decadent Amerikkkan Roman Empire---nah that's just an inside MoA joke---all obvious potential motives---I pick oil price!)


Desperately Seeking Refuge in Next Open Thread

Posted by: donkeytale | Jun 16 2019 13:27 utc | 2

Genuine questions here:
* How can Israelis move submarines to the Arab sea unnoticed? Thourgh the Suez canal???
* How can the Iranians provide hardware to the Houthis, given the harsh blocus that is imposed?

Thanks for these wonderful articles.

Posted by: Wong Yao | Jun 16 2019 13:35 utc | 3

1. There was no real uptick in oil prices, just a tiny bounce from the week's lows.
2. The US has made no serious attempt to pin the blame on Iran (as MofA more or less says). By there standards this is a non-attempt. Rather it appears the US has merely seeked to distract attention from the probable guilty party (probably Saudi but who knows).
3. Everything indicates that this is a non-event - or at least that the US very much wants to treat it as a non-event. Centcom most of all.

4. I would agree that the US can do no more to Iran. Indeed any military action would only lead to a blocked Hormuz. Killing 1 million innocent Iranians costs the Iranians politically as much as killing warmongering 50 Americans. I'm pretty sure they can keep up those kill ratios.

5. This is all still a trade and sanctions dispute. If nothing happens then short term just more and more foreign buyers of oil from Iran with pull out to the point where Iran really may be forced to block the Hormuz / force Saudi into a neutral role interested in clear waterways.
If trade wars gets worse, then China + allies may well start to trade with Iran more, because the threat of being cut off from US banks can only be applied once.

6. Not 100% convinced that this is Iran policy and non just happenstance.

Posted by: Michael Droy | Jun 16 2019 13:37 utc | 4

Speculation for consideration, living in the southern plains in the US and with so many of the oil producers and drillers here losing large sums of money an increase in the price of oil may save them or delay the inevitable. Is it possible that the purpose or motivation is to increase the price of oil. An increase in the price of oil is a double bladed sword, but so many of the oil projects that industry wants in the US would be aided by an increase in price, the pipelines, port projects, oil exports from the US. An increase that would be more than temporary would certainly help the shale boom here. It would also help the jobs and economy which is a good message for an election year. Take a look at google maps nearly anywhere in the south central plains, New Mexico, Colorado and US Bureau of Land Management areas to see just how many gas and oil wells have been drilled here and its not hard to see why an increase in oil prices would be a boom here, the oil is not needed here at this point in time.

While it is a two bladed sword high oil prices inevitably hurt the economy but that would be a year or two down the road. As far as it requiring more strife in the Middle East that would be of no great concern, its so far away for most people here, while having a job is.


Posted by: Storm in Oz | Jun 16 2019 13:37 utc | 5

b mentioned above the Baluch militants. One militant group (and more?), in the Baluch area that was known to be supported by Irael is Jundallah. Israel's Mossad posed as CIA and directed Jundallah to kill Iranians. The hope in that false-flag operation was that Iran would believe American CIA was responsible for killing Iranians and thus Iran would respond in kind by killing Americans.

Posted by: librul | Jun 16 2019 13:47 utc | 6

....But I would be remiss in not giving you credit for the subtle shifting of your placing the blame squarely on the [fat] shoulders of the Orange Dummkopf....instead of his handpicked underlings....

The one who caused this conflict is Donald Trump.

And furthermore, the true reason he created this conflict makes him (and the McConnellite GOP who birthered his presidency) even more petty, racist and ridiculous: Trump simply wants to overturn every single Obama action that could ever be remotely construed as an "Achievement" in the herstory books....

Posted by: donkeytale | Jun 16 2019 13:52 utc | 7

Iran knows that Trump will prefer to fire Bolton and Pompeo instead of starting a new war in the Gulf that will certainly destroy his chances of been re-elected. Yet Iran will not spell it out. It prefers to leave a doubt to allow its numerous regional enemies do the dirty work of provocations, some out of naivety, some out of paranoia, some out of greed .

As these provocations are coming from different sources it is impossible to attribute them to a specific group or to control them. The success of one will encourage another. To stop this, the USA will have to police the Gulf and expose its troops and boats to attacks, something Trump wants to avoid at any cost for fear of been drown into a full war.
Therefore ironically Iran is receiving help from the same enemies that want to weaken it. For Iran, it is a calculated gamble, but at the point where Iran's economy and the impotence of the EU a reality, it is worth it.

Posted by: Virgile | Jun 16 2019 13:55 utc | 8

Perhaps Saudi Arabia has this plan:

1) Stir up trouble
2) Request escort protection from the US (they did that today)
3) Stage an attack on a US vessel in the interest of bringing the US directly into the conflict

Posted by: Timothy Hagios | Jun 16 2019 14:02 utc | 9

The USA is perfectly capable of tracking each and every Iranian ship and boat in the Persian Gulf and, indeed, CENTCOM has just admitted that it sends Reaper drones out to shadow even the smallest of Iranian vessels when it sees suspicious activity.

A small Iranian runabout scoots out to the stricken tanker? No problem, we had it under surveillance and, hey, here are the videos of the crew retrieving.... something.... from that stricken tanker.

Yet - apparently - it was unable to track the Iranian vessel that ran up alongside two tankers in order to attach those limpet mines in the first place.

Because that's the thing that really nags at me: the US Navy must have a radar recording showing a small Iranian vessel running up alongside those two tankers in the hours before the explosions were reported.

Because, let's be honest here, there is no other way that Iranian forces could have attached limpet mines to the side of tankers that are already underway (and, equally, no way for scuba divers to clandestinely attach limpet mines a.b.o.v.e. the waterline when a ship is in port).

If it was an Iranian vessel that attached those limpet mines then there will be a radar track showing *that* little boat intercepting *those* big tankers. Maybe not noticed at the time, but it will be somewhere in the recordings on the Bainbridge.

So why hasn't CENTCOM released those radar traces?

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jun 16 2019 14:06 utc | 10

The Saudis are under pressure from Houthi forces at their southern borders. The Houthi receive some material support from Iran.
This is not the reason the Saudis are interested in a US attack on Iran. I've said it before, and it's very simple. It's because of the Shi'a in Saudi Arabia who live on all the oil-fields. They can't ever be allowed to have a thought of independence, and so Saudi turns on other Shi'a powers - the Houthis, Iran - to cut down any nascent thought among their own Shi'a. They're totally paranoid about it, but theirs is also a correct analysis. There's no sense of nationhood in Saudi Arabia; it's just a collection of territories conquered by Ibn Saud. The Saudis never bothered with creating a nation. For example, their National Parks are, or were, called Kingdom Parks, the parks of the royal family. The Shi'a certainly would go for independence if they could.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jun 16 2019 14:10 utc | 11

Could be them, or it could be THEM, or ....

Just as long we make no connection to what's happening in Idlib:

Turkey Strikes Syrian Army In Response To New Attack On Observation Post In Northern Hama

USA now talks about increasing troops in the region. Only because a few ships have been damaged. Nothing to do with Idblib. Not at all./sarc

PS Back in August 2018 USA vowed to bomb Syria if there was any attack on Idlib.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 16 2019 14:13 utc | 12

@10 Yeah, Right

So why hasn't CENTCOM released those radar traces?

For the same reason the US never released the radar traces of the downing of MH17 that John Kerry insisted they had? : "We saw the take-off. We saw the trajectory, we saw the hit. We saw this aeroplane disappear from the radar screens. So there is really no mystery about where it came from and where these weapons have come from."

Posted by: Norwegian | Jun 16 2019 14:20 utc | 13

Well whomever is behind these incidents, they have lit a fire under Muhammad bin Salman. We are flying jets around with the Saudis now to show unity, and talking about re-deploying to Saudistan.

Then there is this going on down south:

Ansarallah Warns of "Major Battle" in Saudi Territories

"It is the right of the Yemeni people to attack the enemy on its land and reciprocate the financial damage" inflicted by the Saudi-led coalition," he added.

Al-Bakhiti called on the Yemeni tribes to differentiate between state and private-owned assets and properties if the attacks start, noting that the tribal forces will surely coordinate their moves with freedom-seekers in Saudi Arabia.

"We are liberation forces, and not occupiers," he said.

In relevant remarks on Saturday Yemeni Air Force Spokesman Brigadier General Abdullah Al-Jefri underlined that the equations of war had changed by his country's missiles and drones, adding that the Saudi-UAE coalition would be forced to stop the war soon.


Posted by: Bemildred | Jun 16 2019 14:36 utc | 14

Why hasn't Iran shown us what was taken off the ship?

USA claims it was a limpet mine. That should be easy to refute, if Iran wanted to. Unless it actually is a limpet mine that can be traced to Iran!

Would that mean that Iran/Iranian proxy did the attack as per b's theory? No! Just the opposite.

The grainy video released by USA would now makes sense: USA could be holding a clear, high-def video in reserve that shows that it's a limpet mine with Iranian origin. If Iran attempts to show a different object than the limpet mine that was attached to the ship, then USA would use the high-def video to catch Iran in a lie. And that lie would be sufficient in most people's eyes to "prove" that Iran did the attack.

Iran probably realizes the setup and that's why they haven't displayed the object that was attached to the ship. Better to remain silent than to 1) confirm USA claims, or 2) be caught in a lie.

If Iran, or an Iranian proxy, was attacking ships then they would take pains to ensure that it could not be traced back to them. That an Iranian limpet mine was attached to the ship would clearly be contrary to Iran's interests. It would have to have been placed there by some organization(s) or group(s) that is an Iranian adversary.

Once again, this is just a theory. But it explains why the US released a grainy video and why Iran has not shown the world the object that was removed from the ship.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 16 2019 14:42 utc | 15

It is odd that almost no video evidence is promulgated in this event (and more so the Russian vs. USN ship cock-strutting of a few days ago - No video from the alleged helo).

"Everyone knows" that "everyone" has a convenient palm-sized, high-res, zoomable, video recorder in his pocket. It flies in the face of reason and logic that zero video evidence has been readily available and forthcoming.

Zero video footage provided. Nothing either from "thousands of satellites" in space.

MSM it seems, has a difficult role in its effort to peddle warmongering propaganda, when time after time it promulgates no viable video evidence.

For now, the average MSM consumer is not at all bothered by this fact. However, as more events occur, and no video evidence is provided, maybe...

Surely a few more people will wise up.

Also notable is that when video evidence is provided, it is generally grainy (as if it were old 8 mm film) and lacking sufficient detail. Modern video smart phones produce high resolution color videography.

Now we see some of these "news stories" (cock ups) running out of steam quickly. If a party to any such theatrical propaganda piece threatens to reveal video, well that would be bad for the credibility of the propagandist.

“No one in this world, so far as I know — and I have searched the records for years, and employed agents to help me — has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.”

Posted by: Kristan hinton | Jun 16 2019 14:46 utc | 16

@3 Wong - they use Suez.

Iraq had US backing when it closed Shatt al Arab, so there is precedent. Question is that sanctions aren't blockade, they aren't overtly forcefully imposed. This leaves Iran in a position where it does not have obvious right to retaliation, even if the harder intent behind sanctions is very clear. This is part of how the game is played, getting the other side to make a presentable mistake that can be used as justification. Also the exact reason for applying sanctions escapes me, as does what exactly the US is demanding to lift them.

Europe has been very quiet on this. It was very obedient when Syria was targeted also, participated in Libya. What is Europe in this circumstance?

Posted by: Anon | Jun 16 2019 14:50 utc | 17

Kristan hinton @16

For now, the average MSM consumer is not at all bothered by this fact. However, as more events occur, and no video evidence is provided, maybe...

Surely a few more people will wise up.

Anyone who points to this fact is quickly labeled "conspiracy theorist".

Posted by: Norwegian | Jun 16 2019 14:54 utc | 18

Just some clarification: The MQ-9 Reaper is not just a surveillance platform. It is a hunter-killer drone. The admission that a MQ-9 was operating in the area elevates the US into the list of primary suspects, and as a direct perpetrator and not acting through proxies at that.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jun 16 2019 15:02 utc | 19

b: There are many parties in the Middle East and in the United States who are interested in goading the U.S. into a military confrontation with Iran.

Yes.. > the immediate latching onto ‘false flag’ (even if the US, in knee-jerk response, Bolton, etc. blames Iran, that does not mean that the USA is guilty of engineering the puny ‘attacks’), and pointing the finger at some countries, USA-Israel-KSA (UAE left out? -> my first choice), is quite restrictive, similar to a pinning colored pins and arrows and notes about aims, etc. on a wall map as ppl did in WW2.

Mega-Corps and Finance are apparently not conceived of as potential culprits. (They would be drivers behind the scenes.) Rise in oil price? Iffy imho, see above.

Other possible: Small groups, ‘radicals’ with whatever aim/ideology looking for bigly effect / media hype, or some ‘revenge’ action against a specific foe outsiders can’t identify, or even, in some cases (not in this case though) random acts/events being bundled together as part of a supposed ‘concerted action’ (part of the supposed chem. attacks in Syria rested on odd events) is not considered.

Many ‘non deadly’ or ‘small’ attacks take place all over the world all the time. They are only reported on, elevated to ‘world news’ status when fitting into some MSM/Corp/Gov. narrative, to beat the drum for the present warmongers, dominant actors, etc.

Ex. In CH, 2010, a letter-bomb campaing targeted private bankers. It was quite serious. In F (wiki, and downplays severely, makes it like a little dumb caper)été_la_cible_de_colis_piégés

The news about it was supressed, as the banksters knew that even admitting they had been attacked and thus had to take on victim status would be horribly demeaning and …deathly!

Posted by: Noirette | Jun 16 2019 15:08 utc | 20


Yes, the "Conspiracy Theorist" label brought to us by the single bullet marketing department at Langley.

Or, who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?

Will there come a time when "common sense" (hmmm...everyone has a high res color video camera in his pocket, therefore: several high res color video records should be presented) prevails?

Posted by: Kristan hinton | Jun 16 2019 15:10 utc | 21

What proof is there that the video released by the US of "The Iranians retrieving their limpet mine" was even shot in the Gulf and not on a table in a Hollywood studio? How do we know that it was not generated inside some computer? These day computer generated images can be quite difficult - impossible to distinguish from reality.

Posted by: foolisholdman | Jun 16 2019 15:11 utc | 22

Is there anyone who can advise me how - if at all - the Law of Salvage could apply in these cases?

Posted by: Montreal | Jun 16 2019 15:12 utc | 23

Wong @3
* How can Israelis move submarines to the Arab sea unnoticed? Thourgh the Suez canal???

Israel has access through the Gulf of Aqaba from the Israeli city of Eilat, they don't need to use the canal.

Posted by: ToivoS | Jun 16 2019 15:23 utc | 24

@3 Wong

Israel has a naval base at Eilat on the Red Sea. Officially it is only home to patrol boats, and transiting submarines there effectively requires Egyptian support for transit through Suez ( But as b has pointed out, the Israeli navy and its submarine force operate with some regularity in the Arabian sea.

Furthermore, the Israelis have recently been involved in supporting the Saudi genocide over Yemen, and have stationed planes in Saudi Arabia. So, it is no stretch to assume that they could use Saudi ports.

Posted by: fx | Jun 16 2019 15:27 utc | 25


I notice that you do not mention Hezbollah in your analysis. According to Mr. Magnier, Hezbollah and other clients of Iran are a critical part of the equation as deterrents to war see here

Hezbollah is said to be ready to go to war for Iran and to bomb Israel. Yemen is already serving Iran’s objectives with its use of drones against Saudi oil facilities. The Iraqi non-state actors showed their capacities and the US got the message: US forces will be targeted in Iraq. In Gaza, the Palestinian groups deployed their new weapons and showed their readiness to join the common front in case of war against Israel. This general mobilisation has twisted the arms of the US and Israel, imposing a no-war situation in the Middle East for the foreseeable future. Today, the US and Israel have advanced weapons and the latest military technology, but their adversaries in the Middle East are also well-equipped, even if not at the same level. Their precision missiles and armed drones may be enough to maintain “the necessary” balance of power.

This makes sense to me as it is obvious that the powers involved are not actively pushing for war. The MSM is not a reliable measure. They are always beating the war drum. It sells more papers.

Posted by: TheBAG | Jun 16 2019 15:28 utc | 26

Elijah Magnier's analysis certainly agrees with b's, and it is to b's credit that he changed his view on Iran's position without falling for the "Iran did it" claptrap. Kudos.

Posted by: fx | Jun 16 2019 15:29 utc | 27

What I believe to be a more balanced analysis:

B seems to have an agenda. Seems someone wispering in ear.

More likely Bolton is directly complicit - war criminal.
US has most to gain from this.
Thier initial claims and response are as rediculous as this admins foreign policy. Only question is Are they acting like idiots on purpose.

Posted by: jared | Jun 16 2019 15:35 utc | 28

@ Jackrabbit 15

The video shows no evidence that the Iranians removed an object from the hull. They were bound to inspect the damage. The rest is guesswork or Bolton affabulation.

If there was an object, it could be Iranian-made, which even does not make Iranian a culprit. But it could be of other origin. In which case it would take Iran a while to figure out the origin. And even then I would not expect Iran to disclose the evidence in a rush. This is not the US neocon but a sophisticated nation-state we are talking about here.

Posted by: fx | Jun 16 2019 15:40 utc | 29

@29 fx
Is there any solid evidence that the video shows Iranians or that the hull is of the relevant tankers? As far as I can tell it could be anything, not even the time is certain.

Posted by: Norwegian | Jun 16 2019 15:48 utc | 30

I think this is the right decision. There's no reason for Iran to continue to waste time.

Better to sink as many tankers now and begin to squeeze the Americans of gas. The more the American people suffers, the better for the rest of the world.

Posted by: vk | Jun 16 2019 15:53 utc | 31

"Counterintuitive reasoning" - exactly. I still do not buy it. This is betting way too much on the assumption that Tronald will not start a war. But if in stage 3 of the operation instead of a tanker an u.s. vessel is damaged - what then?

Graham yesterday told us what. The hatred of Iran isn't only a Tronald thing, almost the whole u.s. congress agrees. This is false flag and it will be 'successful'.

Posted by: Pnyx | Jun 16 2019 16:02 utc | 32

Again, as I've noted in a different thread, an actual slowdown or shutdown of the Persian Gulf is the one way which is likely to shift Chinese veto on the UN Security council to "neutral".
If anything, the threat to Persian Gulf shipping is more pressure on China to break from US sanctions, than it is pressure on the US.
Europe is clearly ineffective and indecisive.
Russia doesn't have a dog in this fight, but would benefit from oil price increases.
China, however, has influence and credibility with Europe - plus would be severely affected by a Persian Gulf "situation". The last thing China wants is to have its difficult economic situation now put in jeapordy by energy costs.
Game theory again points to the fact that Iran doesn't want to be completely isolated. If China truly has shared interests with Iran, then they will have to show it.
A China which accepts US sanctions on Iran, isn't doing its part. This looks more like a "put up or shut up" to China than anything to do with the US/Trump directly.

Posted by: c1ue | Jun 16 2019 16:12 utc | 33

The limpet mine thing, because the US military lacks imagination, is a sort of replay of the beginning events thirty years ago in the Gulf. . .from wiki--

Operation Praying Mantis was an attack on 18 April 1988, by U.S. forces within Iranian territorial waters in retaliation for the Iranian mining of the Persian Gulf during the Iran–Iraq War and the subsequent damage to an American warship. On 14 April, the guided missile frigate USS Samuel B. Roberts struck a mine while deployed in the Persian Gulf as part of Operation Earnest Will, the 1987–88 convoy missions in which U.S. warships escorted reflagged Kuwaiti oil tankers to protect them from Iranian attacks. . . After the mining, U.S. Navy divers recovered other mines in the area. When the serial numbers were found to match those of mines seized the previous September, U.S. military officials planned a retaliatory operation against Iranian targets in the Persian Gulf. . .here. . Operation Earnest Will (24 July 1987 – 26 September 1988) was the American military protection of Kuwaiti-owned tankers from Iranian attacks in 1987 and 1988, three years into the Tanker War phase of the Iran–Iraq War.[1] It was the largest naval convoy operation since World War II. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 16 2019 16:25 utc | 34

with friends like this....
Japan demands more proof from U.S. that Iran attacked tankers

The Japanese government has been requesting the United States for concrete evidence to back its assertion that Iran is to blame for the attacks on two tankers near the Strait of Hormuz on Thursday, government sources said Sunday.
The request came after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave a statement hours after the attacks blaming Iran but without offering proof. The Department of Defense later released a video allegedly showing an Iranian patrol boat removing an unexploded mine attached to the side of the Japanese-operated tanker Kokuka Courageous.
But Japanese government officials remain unconvinced, the sources said. "The U.S. explanation has not helped us go beyond speculation," said one senior government official.". . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 16 2019 16:29 utc | 35


>> Iran calculates that Trump will see the danger and recognize that such a conflict would ruin his presidency.

How so? If the public is led to believe “Iran attacked”, then the public will “accept” high oil prices (also higher profits for domestic and Canadian producers, frackers, more domestic jobs) and vent anger externally. Not anger toward White House.

Alternatively, why does a second *Trump* term matter? Lower Trump popularity sets the bar low enough for Biden to crawl over. That suits TPTB just fine.

Although losing in 2020 will hurt the Narcissist-in-Chief’s ego, narcissist Trump will get over it. He’ll enjoy life more bragging and banging after 2021 without the headaches. He’ll travel with “former head of state” status and probably be a more popular guest with other filth than Obama, Bush, or Clinton.

>> That he will accept that he has to revoke the sanctions and rejoin the nuclear deal to avoid to be blamed for unprecedented oil prices and catastrophic consequences for the global economy.

But who does it hurt most? If China suffers more than the US, isn’t that a “win”?

Posted by: oglalla | Jun 16 2019 16:29 utc | 36

On a lighter note, Operation Praying Mantis (@34) reminds me of the bluegrass song "Praying Mantis Love Affair" including the refrain:

The female mantis eats her mate,
When they're through makin' love
There's nothin' left but fingernails and hair
I want an all consuming love
But let's draw the line somewhere
Cuz' I don't want a praying mantis love affair.

So let's avoid the operation this time.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 16 2019 16:35 utc | 37

hey b.. thanks!

Posted by: james | Jun 16 2019 16:44 utc | 38

@ oglalla 36
"Iran calculates that Trump will see the danger and recognize that such a conflict would ruin his presidency. . .Iran calculates that Trump will see the danger and recognize that such a conflict would ruin his presidency. . .How so?"

US casualties is one "how so." The US press gets excited now over a few casualties, but war with Iran would bring thousands. There are 50,000 US troops at bases just across the Gulf, maximum range is 210 miles, and Iran has a full arsenal of ballistic and guided missiles. . .That's just for starters. That's why the generals are against it. It's a natural result of what the military calls "forward basing" which also applies in Korea; no US attacks there either for the same reason.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 16 2019 16:46 utc | 39

Kristan hinton @ 21 says:

Will there come a time when "common sense" (hmmm...everyone has a high res color video camera in his pocket, therefore: several high res color video records should be presented) prevails

granted the relationship between photography and reality is often somewhat unrequited, still, i'd be remiss not to mention what we all witnessed in high resolution on 9/11, or in decent quality 8mm color(at least once they released frame 313) in Dallas back in '63. indisputable, incriminating video evidence can, it seems, just as easily be used to justify and sustain a complete deception.

Posted by: john | Jun 16 2019 16:47 utc | 40

@28 jared

It is fair and important to admit uncertainty. If you blindly hold that this is a false flag by US or similar then you will get ignored and publicly disproven (even if falsely) by tptb. If you say false flag without knowing that, then you are providing a decoy that will get ignored, instead of allowing attention to focus on the important, as in why is Iran being sanctioned, are our countries antangonising it, etc.. I think b. is being fair and presenting all feasible possibility, he doesn't claim outright authority. What is interesting is watching how the more hostile of people react to suggestions other than what suits them. If you have any more info than the rest of us then share it, because for now there is none conclusive.

Also note the "mine removal" video was daytime not night, as someone stated and I took for fact. Why IR then, maybe viz ?

Posted by: Anon | Jun 16 2019 16:58 utc | 41

The context of this event of the tankers is simply War. The war against Iran is on. It began long ago. This phase is mostly economic in strategic goal. The destruction of the Iranian economy will bring down the government. That's the intention of all acts, schemes, and events we get in the news/propaganda.

Bleeding the Iranian economy is more effective than bleeding its armies and proxies.

There is a mass of young Iranians who have no affection for the government. The economy has always been weak during their lifetime. Thus, they would like change. They won't join a revolution or rebellion or actual sabotage of their own nation, but it is fertile grown of discontent. Ultimately, the theory goes, the masses will bring down the government.

So, the US and Israel, Qatar and Saudi and UAE are all in on whatever means anyone dreams up to bleed Iran's economy.

Quite simply, Iran cannot afford to go wide with its asymmetrical warfare. It must hold EU, Russian and Chinese opinion on its side. Thus, unless directly, frontally attacked, Iran must find critical nerve centers to hit back upon. It cannot unleash ballistic missiles on US bases or direct Hezbollah rocket fire on Haifa.

When and if its oil exports are totally blocked, then it can go to its powerful weapon targeting.

Until then, Iran bleeds and will bleed.

Most of all, Iran has to learn how to let Russia and China defend it. (Like North Korea has.) Iran is partner of EAEU, soon to be a full member of SCO, and vital to India's energy needs. These are positive, non-military leverages. They are two-way connections that make these big nations, all nuclear powers, stakeholders in Iran's outcome.

Three years ago, it erred in not buying the S400 missile defense.
Iran has a curious inflated view of its own military abilities.
It would do well to rethink that position.

Meanwhile, it should begin coordinating with Russia and China on its tactics. They need all the help they can get.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Jun 16 2019 17:04 utc | 42

Pompeo again blames Iran for tanker attacks but insists 'we don't want war'

Pompeo said intelligence officials have “lots of data, lots of evidence” tying Iran to alleged attacks on two oil tankers traveling near the Strait of Hormuz, a transit route for Arab oil shipments to Asia. He gave no details.

He said that Washington will guarantee free navigation through vital shipping areas.

“The United States is going make sure that we take all the actions necessary, diplomatic and otherwise that achieve that outcome,” Pompeo said.

Sounds like US warships will be escorting tankers through the strait soon. One of these ships will be sunk or seriously attacked all recorded in HD of course.

By degrees the B-team moves their plan along, right under the nose of the goyim. Disheartening to see so many assumingely intelligent people debating so many unimportant aspects of these events.

Later in same article:

“Iran will not get a nuke weapon. That’s the goal,” he said when asked about the possibility of Trump sending more US troops and military hardware to the region.

“I made a number of calls to colleagues around the world yesterday. I am confident that we will have partners that understand this threat,” Pompeo said.

We WILL have partners, as in we don't have them now, but we will soon. Foreshadowing?

Posted by: Zack | Jun 16 2019 17:07 utc | 43

A torpedo or missile is designed to enter the ship and explode inside. A ship with that much naphtha would have burned up and sunk if hit with a torpedo or a missile. The damage would have been much more extensive even if it did not sink. A small explosive above the waterline like a limpet mini would cause far less damage and puncture one of the compartments. That makes more sense because it would puncture the ship and create a fire. The fuel in the compartment would burn off in a much more controlled manner as it mixes with the O2 in the atmosphere.

Whomever is doing this is looking for ratings on the news not complete chaos as of yet. The object is not to sink a ship but to create a spectacle and gauge the worlds' response for their next move. It takes time to frame the minds of people for war, especially after the post 911 regional disasters.

An ecological disaster would create world sympathy and a hunt for a peaceful resolution. It would cause all the worlds players to unite, except for the US and a few other small cliques, in an action towards resolution.

I would expect more events like this on land and sea across the region slowly building resolve for war among Iran's neighbors. There is no stopping this, it is going to happen no matter who is in power politically in the West. The politicians are just paid actors too ugly to make it in Hollywood.

Posted by: dltravers | Jun 16 2019 17:13 utc | 44

@ dltravers who wrote
The politicians are just paid actors too ugly to make it in Hollywood.

You mean to tell me that Trump is not alone in being a Liberace grifter? You think that there is maybe a class of people like that?

Grin. I agree that the momentum is growing for further confrontation/ is about time.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jun 16 2019 17:23 utc | 45

c1ue @33 sez: " actual slowdown or shutdown of the Persian Gulf is the one way which is likely to shift Chinese veto on the UN Security council to "neutral"."

Not going to happen, as I mentioned in a previous thread. The Chinese now know that there is no benefit to China to even appearing to side with the US on aggression against Iran, or any other country for that matter. Even if the US (note that I am speaking of the US and not Trump, as who is president is irrelevant) promises to end the trade war in exchange for China's cooperation the Chinese of today know that would be a lie and they know that they would be played for fools if they agreed to it.

There has been a significant change in the world over the last decade, particularly since America's attack on Libya. China's efforts at dialogue with the US are nothing more than the rational person making soothing sounds to the heavily armed raving lunatic in an effort to delay more bloodshed. The Chinese used to very much look up to the United States, but that is no more.

What's more, an open US/NATO war Iran will cripple China's BRI project for many years to come. BRI is a very big part of China's roadmap to the future, and they will defend it as best they can.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jun 16 2019 17:31 utc | 46

dltravers @44

A Hellfire missile fired from an RQ-9 Reaper drone with an antipersonnel warhead (rather than anti-armor) would detonate on the outer hull and possibly only do minor damage to the inner hull of a tanker.

Just sayin`...

Posted by: William Gruff | Jun 16 2019 17:37 utc | 47

@47 William Gruff

Yes, and the Japanese say the tanker was hit by flying object(s).
Operator: Tanker hit by flying object, not mine

The president of the Tokyo-based shipping firm Kokuka Sangyo says its tanker was hit by an incoming projectile. He says several crew members witnessed the source of the second blast.

There seems to zero evidence for "mines".

Posted by: Norwegian | Jun 16 2019 17:58 utc | 48

This just in: Iran attacks US warships in the Gulf of Tonkin.

Apparently the Iranian attack dhows escaped: "A sailor familiar with the matter said that it was not unusual for sailing vessels to be hard to track on the high seas... Beyond difficult detection conditions, the sailor said the Maddox‘s long-range air-search radar and the Turner Joy‘s radar were inoperative.

“"We’re just happy we didn’t hit a freighter,” the sailor said."

Posted by: William Gruff | Jun 16 2019 18:13 utc | 49

Agree completely.
Just saying, if one were to factor motive the US is highly suspect.
And the rush to judgement increases cause for suspicion.
US has exhausted credibility.

Posted by: Jared | Jun 16 2019 18:47 utc | 50

Waterline argument bogus

As TTG pointed out, we saw the boat hours after the attack and it is quite possible that much of its cargo of fuel was spilled so the ship's waterline would have been lower at the time of the attack. Also, all of the damage was in a straight line, so I do think that mines are more likely than airborne missiles. However, Lympet mines are applied by frogman so I doubt they could have done that while the ship was in motion.

Still don't see any mine in that horrible video

I wish our corrupt MSM would stop talking about the video showing the Iranian's removing a mine from the ship's hull when it is far from obvious that they are doing anything other than inspecting it. How much does a Lympet mine weigh, is the magnet strong enough to support its weight above the waterline? Wow, that is one badass IRGC member who can pull a mine off the side of a ship while standing on a swaying boat, overcoming the magnet, without breaking a sweat. Do our troops really want to tangle with these guys, I mean we whine about how they have killed so many U.S. troops already and that was only their proxies.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Jun 16 2019 19:24 utc | 51

Very interesting article, both the first piece and the second.

Posted by: Josh | Jun 16 2019 19:27 utc | 52

Christian Chuba

The interesting feature of the video was the number of people on the front deck of the small boat.
Seems far too many to crew a boat that size. If the video is genuine, the people on the front deck are likely to be the tanker crew the Iranians picked up, though the Iranians did pick up the crew from the other tanker. They may well have inspected both tankers after picking up the crew from the boat that rescued them.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 16 2019 19:48 utc | 53

Saudi crown prince accuses rival Iran of tanker attacks

In an interview with the Arabic-language newspaper Asharq al-Awsat, Prince Mohammed said Iran disrespected the visit to Tehran by the Japanese prime minister last week and responded to his diplomatic efforts to reduce regional tensions by attacking the two tankers.

The crown prince, however, offered no evidence to back up his allegation.

"The problem is in Tehran and not anywhere else," Prince Mohammed said. "Iran is always the party that's escalating in the region, carrying out terrorist attacks and criminal attacks either directly or through its militias."

MbS giving away the storyline as to why these attacks happened when they did?

Posted by: Zack | Jun 16 2019 19:50 utc | 54

If is is Iran pulling off these small sabotage attacks, if they can continue pulling them off leaving no evidence, it will have the bonus effect of defending any major US false flag.

Japan and a few other countries are calling on the US to put up evidence for its latest claims. If this can be kept up - US making claims and other countries calling for evidence (any gulf war will hit European and Asian oil supplies), there will be the same reaction when the US tries to pull its own false flag to go to war with Iran.
"Pompeo says U.S. does not want war with Iran; pushes for international response"
"Pompeo said the United States would take “all actions necessary, diplomatic and otherwise” to guarantee safe passage through vital shipping lanes, without providing further details. The secretary of state said the U.S. was discussing a possible international response, saying he had made a number of calls to foreign officials on Saturday regarding the attacks.

He cited China, Japan, South Korea and Indonesia as countries that rely heavily on freedom of navigation through the straits. “I’m confident that when they see the risk, the risk of their own economies and their own people and outrageous behavior of the Islamic Republic of Iran, they will join us in this.”
" BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The EU’s second most senior diplomat affirmed the bloc’s support for the nuclear deal between world powers with Iran, including via the use of a new payment system for barter-based trade designed to circumvent U.S. sanctions."

Japan is one of the countries Pompeo mentions, but as is already known here, Japan is asking for evidence to back up US claims.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 16 2019 20:03 utc | 55

Just noting that Tom Luongo has quoted b favorably in an article on ZH about Iran

Congrats b on the increasing recognition of your efforts

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jun 16 2019 20:03 utc | 56

@51 Christian Chuba

Check the boats. The Kokuka Courageous didn't lose any fuel. Her cargo is intact.

The Altair is the one that was penetrated.

Posted by: S.O. | Jun 16 2019 20:12 utc | 57

@51 Christian Chuba, @57 v

The Altair is the one that was penetrated.

It has been reported that there was no pollution from the Altair.
Oil Tanker Hit By Blast In Gulf Of Oman Seems To Have Caused No Pollution

There does not seem to be any pollution after Frontline shipping company's oil tanker Front Altair was hit by an explosion in the Gulf of Oman, company spokesman Pat Adamson told Sputnik on Thursday

The argument that the waterline had somehow sunk is unconvincing.

Posted by: Norwegian | Jun 16 2019 20:24 utc | 58

Re the blurry pentagon video and the color photograph with the two red arrows being circulated.

In the video, the depth or draft measurements can be clearly seen on the side of the ship.
In the color photograph, the ship does not have these markings. The red arrow could hide some of the markings, but not all as the markings in the video run higher up the ships side than the top of the arrow.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 16 2019 20:33 utc | 59

Christian Chuba | Jun 16, 2019 3:24:18 PM | 51 "As TTG pointed out, we saw the boat hours after the attack and it is quite possible that much of its cargo of fuel was spilled so the ship's waterline would have been lower at the time of the attack."

The section of the shpis hull that is below the waterline when fully loaded is painted red.
For the marks on the bogus pics to have been at the waterline, the ship would have been well and truly overloaded.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 16 2019 20:40 utc | 60

To add to my post @59 The ship in the photo appears to have depth or draft markings well to the left of the arrows.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 16 2019 20:44 utc | 61

A photo of the Kokuka Courageous Hard to see but there are draft markings midway as per grainy video
but also another set of markings toward the rear of the ship as per color propaganda pic.

Another pic showing propaganda microsoft paint limpet with arrow in different position. No depth markings visible.

Video and propaganda photo are of the same ship. Where the supposed limpet mine is located is on a patch of fresh paint that covers the depth markings. That is when the embellished photo was taken.
The lighter coloring of the fresh paint also shows on the grainy video but the depth markings have been replaced.
The color photogragh was taken at an earlier time when a section of the hull had recently been repainted. A stock photogragh that was pulled up for embellishment. Perhaps why the video had to be so grainy.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 16 2019 21:07 utc | 62

Pompeo says, looking for consensus on Iran. Well, I bet the global consensus would say--Rejoin the JCPOA and end your illegal sanction regime and global trade war!!!

IMO, the media command and Vassal, artificial "International Community" assets are no longer in play. Sure, Pompeo, Bolton and other bitches can bellow all they want, but the world no longer simply bows and meekly says, Yes Master.

I see others are skeptical that something was removed in the video. What makes any further assessment close to impossible is the lack of additional visuals of both tankers. Iran has every right to shoot down drones over its territorial waters, so that protest sank rapidly. Tankers don't run very fast and swimmers have nice aids to help them go faster underwater; so, attaching limpet mines to a moving tanker or freighter wouldn't be too difficult to do in the usual manner--to the bottom of the keel near the stern to mess with steering gear and engine room, although dealing with the propwash would be hazardous. I watched the video yet again and something does seem to be removed and there's no visible damage to hull when boat backs off. But placing a limpet mine one meter above waterline makes zero sense, not just because of the difficulty.

As I see it, The Outlaw US Empire doesn't have any cards to play in the media game as all nations know who's to blame for the crisis. Unmentioned is the additional pressure being put on EU JCPOA signatories to abide by the treaty, some thing I pointed out when citing Putin's words to making sure others do their part in upholding the treaty. Yes, TrumpCo is certainly backed into a corner.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 16 2019 21:11 utc | 63

Peter AU 1 @62--

Looking at the video boat, it's hardtop is about 12' above waterline, thus giving tanker about 24' of freeboard from waterline to top of hull side in limpet here photo. That would put the assumed limpet mine almost 6'--2 meters--above the waterline, and estimate that can also be determined by looking at video. Placing a limpet mine that high by someone in water would be next to impossible without some sort of mechanical aid. Placing by drone would also be impossible as there's no possible way to properly balance the drone for flight afterwards. Too bad the USN was chicken to go and look for itself since it arrived on scene in plenty of time. The only other possibility is the mine photo and boat video are fakes. Thoughts?

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 16 2019 21:27 utc | 64

I have watched the video a number of times and it seems to me the person in the boat is trying to detatch something hanging from a rope. It takes two attempts as the small boat is moving up and down slightly in the swell and when the boat goes down, the object is out of reach.
The people on the front deck I believe are a tanker crew and the object is possibly something the crew hung over the side to be retrieved.
Of the people on the front deck, some are wearing life vests, some are not, and there seems to be differences in shades of clothing.
I doubt if this would be the case if the people were all Iran navy.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 16 2019 21:28 utc | 65

Other than the high quality pictures of the Front Altair released by Iran, and the grainy video of the Kokuka Courageous released by the US there are no pics whatsoever of the incident. The bellingcrap style embellished pic of the Kokuka Courageous was taken at an earlier time when fresh paint covered the depth markings.
The Kokuka Courageous has been under US control for sometime and I take it, has now been towed back to port, yet there are absolutely no photos or videos.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 16 2019 21:38 utc | 66

karlof1 "Thoughts"

We are cross posting here but my basic thought is the video is genuine, as in taken on the day of the events, but the photogragh is not as evidenced by the depth markings on the ship.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 16 2019 21:42 utc | 67

Peter AU 1 @67--

The video pans to show the damaged part of the hull. It would be wise to compare what it shows to what the photo shows. Will be doing that now.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 16 2019 21:47 utc | 68

The damage appears at :50 in the video and seems consistent to what the photo shows. What we see in the video is a tanker crew member being helped into the boat!!!!!!

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 16 2019 21:57 utc | 69

The reason why only the poor quality video was supplied is so the rope used by the tanker crew to abandon ship to the Iranian boat cannot be seen. In the photo, the supposed limpet mine is 6' above the water, but the man on the boat aiding the evacuating crew member is reaching up much higher than that to help guide him onto the deck. Then he (crewmember) jumps down into the well of the cockpit wearing his life jacket. The ruse of the limpet mine has our eyes looking for something other than a human. Presumably, there's video of the entire evacuation and the crew will testify to what occurred, which is why the Outlaw US Empire has backed off its threats. Yes, the tanker was hit back by engine room, probably by a kamikaze drone. The mine is computer paint and 100% false.


Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 16 2019 22:08 utc | 70

I think you are correct. Watching the start of the video, it looks very much like the tanker crew in life jackets have just come down a rope or rope ladder onto the rescue boat.
Also the pan out and damage. I had not noticed that before but it does match the damage shown on the propaganda pic. The propaganda pic is missing the midway set of depth markings so I take it the genuine damage has also been added to the stock pic.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 16 2019 22:13 utc | 71

Also on the rescue of the tanker crews. RT initially reported that Iran had rescued the crews of both ships. The pentagon report says they picked up the Kokuka Courageous crew from a Dutch boat about five hours after the incident.
It seems likely the video is of the Iranian boat rescuing the Kokuka crew, who were then transferred to a Dutch boat and from there to the US navy ship.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 16 2019 22:23 utc | 72

@15 Jackrabbit. Easily solved: The Iranians could always remove the purloined Iranian limpet mine and then invite the world's press to examine what they removed - a US-made limpet mine, with Hebrew stencilling on it.

What is the US going to do?

After all, they are not in a position to shout "Hang on! That's not the limpet mine that we attac… err, sorry, forget I said that.."

BTW, the photos that the USA released showed that the suspected limpet mine was triangular in shape. Seemed an odd shape to me, I would have thought round or square but not triangular.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jun 16 2019 22:25 utc | 73

Peter AU 1@65

Other links have suggested that the rescue vessel had attached itself with a magnetic device (Miko magnet?) which it was removing following the rescue.

Posted by: Krollchem | Jun 16 2019 22:31 utc | 74


The Iranian boat looks to be hard against the tanker. A magnetic device would give a hard coupling which would not work in even a slight swell. There would need to be enough rope between the magnetic device and the small boat to allow for the rise and fall of the swell which would not hold the boat close enough to the tanker for crew coming down a rope or rope ladder.
I would guess the Iranian boat is kept in position using engine and rudder.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 16 2019 22:43 utc | 75

Peter AU 1 @71--

I've seen enough. What we're shown is the very last crewman being guided onto/into the Iranian boat. On the bow are two Iranian crew, one reaching the tanker crewman, the other steadying the reacher's legs against the sight motion of the ocean. Once the tanker crewman's in the cockpit, the sitting Iranian crewman gets into the cockpit while the standing man remains standing, probably since he's bilingual and capable of communicating instructions--a vital component even with easy rescues like this one. Everyone's milling about in the bow because they just got there and want to ensure the safety of their shipmates. The poor resolution video was chosen because it hides numerous details. Plenty of time was available for photoshopping the limpet mine addition, which helped fool those watching the video.

Those that leapt to the conclusion and swallowed the propaganda whole will now look like the fools they are, and Outlaw US Empire credibility will sink even lower, much to Iran's benefit.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 16 2019 22:51 utc | 76

Agree completely with your post @76

Another aspect in regards this rescue that the US is trying to make out was Iranian's removing a mine. Japanese PM was visiting Iran at the time. This was the crew of the Japanese owned ship that Iran rescued. No wonder Japan come out so quickly to condemn the US propaganda - demanding evidence and so forth.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 16 2019 22:59 utc | 77

Peter AU 1 @75--

"I would guess the Iranian boat is kept in position using engine and rudder."

That's US Coast Guard SOP. The Iranian bosun did an excellent job of keeping his bow pinned against the tanker and immediately backed off when the operation was completed. With proper camera use, the entire sequence would probably make an excellent training film. Two boats of the type used would be required since the crew total was 21.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 16 2019 23:03 utc | 78

Thank you Peter AU 1 and karlof1 for the time and effort you put into this.

Whether or not the US did the attacks they've now taken ownership of it through their falsification.

The commercial interests involved (ship owners, cargo owners, insurers, coast guards, other involved vessels) can take them to court and there's no reason it should be a US one and every reason it shouldn't be a US one.

Is heavy diplomatic interference on the table? Will there be anything more said by any of the companies?

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Jun 16 2019 23:08 utc | 79

Peter AU 1 @77--

I wonder how many other investigators have reached our conclusion? If I had a twitter account, I'd tweet it to the world! I can't think of an earlier instance where the Outlaw US Empire made such a huge own-goal. But will someone show Trump what we so clearly saw, once we figured what to look for? Will Pompeo resign; will Bolton? What about those Congresscritters who wanted to immediately attack Iran?

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 16 2019 23:13 utc | 80

@50 jared

That is also very possible that the US or a third party has set this up, I don't deny that.The US lack of credibility has not stopped it before, but now it is more a question of posturing I think, acting as guardian to certain countries and expanding its presence. What other presentable business does it have in the gulf really besides defending shipping routes ? It does not need to initiate aggression on Iran while it has rounded up enough support to isolate it and damage it economically. This is why b's analysis makes sense though, because unattributed disruption of shipping is about the only reply Iran can give without inviting an immediate heavy response. Saudi et al are in conflict with its allies and so proxy forces to carry out any attacks are available - this is therefore an extension of the war in Yemen, or Palestine even, not a direct reply to sanctions though Iran would "not restrain" the initiative.

I think you know the middle east, I think you know that much of what occurs there is rarely as it appears, or at least not as portrayed when translated to a format for western consumption.

So I think that is why Saudi is giving such a reaction now, this strikes at it more than any other country, unless it is actually in on the show that is. Two countries defending their honour and ability vs the other is a recipe for conflict unfortunately. As is often the case it is outside countries that are applying the pressure, if they wanted to keep the peace instead of make it this would not be as it is now probably.

Posted by: Anon | Jun 16 2019 23:16 utc | 81

It would be excellent for fellow barflies to watch the video and confirm or dispute the conclusion reached by Peter AU 1 and myself. And if you agree, please inform others as so far as we know this is a scoop! Thanks!

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 16 2019 23:37 utc | 82

The first problem with this strategy is that there is no way for Trump to back out in a face saving way (yes, I know he will manoeuvre and come up with some justification but it will still be a humiliation) and, in such a situation, he would definitely lose the election. If Trump is going to back out he needs to do it as soon as possible - the closer to the election the more he will need Iran to back down (and this strategy says they won't) and the more he will be unable to.

The second problem is that it is a long time (12 months plus) for Iran to be staging incidents without being discovered and "definitive proof" is not what the West require to blame Iran, anyway; they can just blame Iran (without evidence) when it suits them and, in time, belief will follow.

The third problem is that this allows the US a long time to build up forces under the cover of "defending shipping lanes".

The fourth problem is that it just saves the US from having to stage their own provocations; the US can just wait until' the world begs them do do "something" or wait until' they need to stage an "incontestable" incident (most of the prep work having been done by Iran.)

The fifth problem is how are Iran going to ensure that a "mistake" doesn't happen and a significant disaster, involving many deaths, doesn't occur, and the resulting lost of world sympathy and patience.

The sixth problem is that the US/west aren't going to invade; they will obliterate Iran with nuclear weapons - anything else would be disastrous for the west.

The seventh problem is that they don't have nuclear weapons (refer to North Korea) and China and Russia will not undertake to use such weapons to defend Iran - because to do so would put themselves in line for a first strike.

The eighth problem is that a war President will get re-elected as long as the people believed their wasn't much option, the war isn't going badly and hasn't been going on for too long. A weak President who doesn't do anything while he is continually provoked won't get re-elected.

The final problem is that it looks very much like it is straight out of the US play book, where the US are ill-prepared and reluctantly have to go to war to save the "free world", yet again!.

In summary, significant sections of US would like to destroy Iran they just need a reason (how fortunate that Iran are willing to help in that regard) and there is no way out for the US without losing face. So if Iran's strategy is as outlined in this article (and doesn't change) we know were we are heading.

I think it more likely that these events are false flags and Iran is content to allow attribution without admission. As precedent for such positioning I would cite Gaddafi who was blamed for a number of incidents that he had nothing to do with and seemed content to not convincingly dispute his involvement - because it made a mouse look like a lion; this strategy worked for him for a time.

Posted by: ADKC | Jun 16 2019 23:48 utc | 83

ADKC @82--

I guess you don't think much of Peter AU 1"s and my sleuthing out what the video actually shows and how that further damages US credibility on anything.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 17 2019 0:04 utc | 84

@karlof1 #81

Makes much more sense than the MSM narrative. Video clearly has been downgraded in quality to hide something.

Really shows the desperation of the B-team. Straight criminals, albeit sloppy ill disciplined criminals.

Posted by: Zack | Jun 17 2019 0:23 utc | 85

@ Peter AU 1 and karlof1 with the scenario about the video....good work

I watched a few times and backed it up repeatedly because they chose an interesting moment to start the clip, eh?

Empire is responding like the movie Wag the Dog but the problem is that everyone has seen it before or knows about the plot line.

Another tell that it is the rescue is the kind of life preservers many are wearing......not what you wear if you work the small boat.

I expect that nation after nation is getting intelligence from other than empire now and so the debunking behind the scenes occurs rather quickly and eyes roll and pearls are clutched......China is a steamroller baby and she's gonna roll all over you....(apologies to James Taylor)

It is interesting that empire is being public about its call for support of their perfidy and I can only suspect serious support to only come from UK, SA and Israel.....the circle of wagons is getting smaller but look at all those plates they are keeping spinning around the globe......its magic until its not magic anymore.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jun 17 2019 0:26 utc | 86

karlof1 @83

I think your and Peter AU 1's analysis is pretty solid myself. After following your discussion and revisiting the video it seems obvious that it was just the rescue. How could everyone (myself included) have overlooked how crowded that little launch is in the video? That many people packed onto that boat to motor several kilometers out to sea to stand around and watch one guy pull a limpet mine off the hull? How does that make any sense at all? What are the extra eight or nine guys doing? Supervising?

In retrospect the video just shows the Iranians rescuing the tanker crew. How it could have been mistaken to be anything else just demonstrates the power of suggestion.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jun 17 2019 0:32 utc | 87

Peter AU 1 and karlof1 thanks for the correction. I wonder why the video did not show the earlier part of the recovery?

I presume that the Iranian rescue vessel is the Naji 10 from this report showing the Naji 10 moving from the Hyundai Dubai to the Front Altair and then to an Iranian port (timestamp 19:15).

The video only show about half of the Front Altair crew. The other half of the crew was already rescued. The US ship was apparently running with its AIS off.

Posted by: Krollchem | Jun 17 2019 1:02 utc | 88

karlof1 @81

I probably started writing my thing before you or Peter AU 1 started your posting about the video; so I hadn't read your posts.

I did seek out the video when Bolton (or whoever) first went on about it. I sat down to watch it but after 5 seconds it was clear it was rubbish - I didn't see how anyone could claim it was even showing Iranians or anything of any value.

I wasn't really following the video story because I immediately classed the video as irrelevant. However, you two have been quite smart and looked for the video showing unintended things. So....

The midway depth markings are clearly visible in the blurry video but absent in the better quality photograph. That cannot be!

It seems to me that (in the video) the men in the boat are away from the side of the ship and it does look as if someone has taken a significant weight and is guiding it down, much more like (as you say) they have helped a man down, and unlike pulling a mine of the side of the ship.

So, it seems you and Peter have a "scope" (the most likely interpretation of what the video shows) - you need to write it up and submit to RT asap!

Posted by: ADKC | Jun 17 2019 1:30 utc | 89

@Kristan Hinton 16

I agree--lack of any video in this epoch is strange. This relates to the equally strange lack of interviews with ship captains and crew members. What did they see? It's nice to hear the president of the Japanese shipping company tell us what they are reporting but why is the global media not tracking them down for first-person accounts?

Posted by: Oscar Peterson | Jun 17 2019 1:33 utc | 90

@Red Ryder #42

"Three years ago, it erred in not buying the S400 missile defense."

I don't think they were actually offered the S-400 by Russia--just the S-300. Russia has a tendency to play games with its assistance to Iran, using many potential sales as bargaining chips with the US that can be either withdrawn or downgraded if a deal is reached. That has been a big frustration for Iran for many years now.

Posted by: Oscar Peterson | Jun 17 2019 1:44 utc | 91

You want evidence? They're creating it.
Pompeo says ‘lots of evidence’ proves Iran attacked oil tankers

​Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said more evidence will be released to show Iran was responsible for attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman and the Trump administration is weighing all options – including military – in response.
“The intelligence community has lots of data, lots of evidence – the world will come to see much of it,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.” “The American people should rest assured we have high confidence with respect to who conducted these attacks, as well as half a dozen other attacks throughout the world over the past 40 days.” . . .here

The "intelligence community." Hah. They be weighing them options. Should we lie some more or just roll over and admit defeat?

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 17 2019 1:45 utc | 92

@karlov1 70

"The reason why only the poor quality video was supplied is so the rope used by the tanker crew to abandon ship to the Iranian boat cannot be seen.'

Well, it's an interesting theory, but I don't think either crew was evacuated directly onto an Iranian boat. One went to the USS Bainbridge and the other went to a South Korean ship and then to Iranian craft.

What I find unaccountable is the non-denial denials that have been issued by Iran in response to the even and specifically to the US accusations. I would have expected categorical rebuttals of the US claims, including some account of the video clip the US disseminated.

Instead, Zarif tweeted: "That the US immediately jumped to make allegations against Iran—w/o a shred of factual or circumstantial evidence—only makes it abundantly clear that the #B_Team is moving to a #PlanB: Sabotage diplomacy—including by @AbeShinzo—and cover up its #EconomicTerrorism against Iran."

I haven't seen Iran make any direct reference to the video, which I find strange.

Posted by: Oscar Peterson | Jun 17 2019 1:57 utc | 93

@OP 92
One [crew] went to the USS Bainbridge
No. It took the Bainbridge several hours to arrive on the scene from 40 nautical miles away and the crews had already debarked. . . .But it's understandable that a US destroyer wouldn't want to get anywhere a tanker, collision-wise.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 17 2019 2:24 utc | 94

Excellent attention to detail by karlov1 and PeterAU. Once you realize it is a bait and switch--that the doctored photo has no real relationship to the rescue video--you wonder how you could ever have thought the boat crew were up to anything suspicious. One last oddity is the video perspective itself. Based on the camera angle and speed with which it appears to change perspective, it was obviously not a large, aircraft-type drone at great distance. It would almost have to have been a much smaller drone, likely capable of hovering, at much closer distance. If it was a more normal drone at close range in daylight, there is even less reason to be expecting that the footage quality would be so poor, unless it was intentionally degraded to add the aura of surreptitious activity by the light of a moon....

Posted by: J Swift | Jun 17 2019 2:39 utc | 95

the video is impossible to form an informed comment on from my pov which ought to tell one all they need to know really... if you see more then my eyes do - great.. i agree with karlof1s comment, the reason the video is so bad is to hide a view of the rope... clearly this was a rescue of the sailors, as opposed to picking up the evidence.. i thought so from the beginning.. piss poor frame up of iran as it presently stands.. i think most folks read it this way as well..

Posted by: james | Jun 17 2019 2:40 utc | 96

@ADKC #82

"The first problem with this strategy is that there is no way for Trump to back out in a face saving way..."

Yes, probably true. The Iranian goal would presumably be to finesse a develop a situation in which Trump ends up being seen to be the primary escalator AND in which there is enough sustained negative economic impact globally to lose Trump the election and provide a coalition of major players the incentive to bypass US sanctions and end Iran's economic isolation.

It's definitely a very difficult needle to thread.

"The second problem is that it is a long time (12 months plus) for Iran to be staging incidents without being discovered..."

True. Generating enough disruption to change the existing dynamic while at the same time avoiding acts that would further isolate Iran and skirting major war is, once again, threading the needle.

"The third problem is that this allows the US a long time to build up forces under the cover of 'defending shipping lanes'".

Yes, but anything that Iran does that has the kind of impact it would want to bring about would necessarily draw in more US forces. That's just part of the risk Iran would be taking on.

"The fourth problem is that it just saves the US from having to stage their own provocations; the US can just wait until' the world begs them do do something..."

Iran probably believes that if they can manage the escalation right, that other major players may be forced to work seriously to end Iran's isolation. Can Iran generate that impact? That's the question.

"The fifth problem is how are Iran going to ensure that a "mistake" doesn't happen and a significant disaster, involving many deaths, doesn't occur, and the resulting lost of world sympathy and patience."

Well, they can't ensure that. That's the risk they would be taking. The question is what less risky alternatives do they have?

"The sixth problem is that the US/west aren't going to invade; they will obliterate Iran with nuclear weapons - anything else would be disastrous for the west. The seventh problem is that they don't have nuclear weapons..."

Very unlikely. Nuclear radiation blowing around not far from the Gulf itself? That in itself would cause an economic disaster. The risk of US use of nukes is there but of a low order.

"The eighth problem is that a war President will get re-elected as long as the people believed their wasn't much option, the war isn't going badly and hasn't been going on for too long. A weak President who doesn't do anything while he is continually provoked won't get re-elected."

Yes, probably so, so Iran's goal would be to try to manage the escalation so that the US is seen to take the key escalatory steps and to ensure that the economic impact is severe enough and sustained such that it would NOT be seen to be going well from a US public perspective.

A false-flag explanation is still a distinct possibility. But regardless, the key issue here is what Iran's strategic options really are. India has stopped buying their oil. Turkey has stopped buying their oil. China is buying 20% of what they were buying. INSTEX appears to be going nowhere. Can Iran just sit there and hope to wait out Trump and those who dominate his thinking in an utterly passive mode?

Posted by: Oscar Peterson | Jun 17 2019 2:41 utc | 97

@Don Bacon #93

It's true that the crew of the Japanese-owned ship did not go directly to the Bainbridge. They were picked up by the Dutch tug boat Coastal Ace and then transferred. The point is that they were not taken off the ship by the Iranians, which is what the theory I was discussing seemed to be suggesting as an explanation for the video clip publicized by the US.

Posted by: Oscar Peterson | Jun 17 2019 2:48 utc | 98

The US has not been able to guarantee the safe transit of oil through the Strait of Hormuz with 50,000 troops in the Gulf area, the largest US foreign air base, and the US Fifth fleet with thousands of sailors and Marines plus the occasional 10,000 person carrier fleet (as recently), but that will now change.
Star and Stripes:

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday that the United States will guarantee the safe transit of oil through the Strait of Hormuz, and continued to blame Iran for attacks on two tankers last week in the Gulf of Oman.
"We're going to guarantee the freedom of navigation through the straits," Pompeo said on "Fox News Sunday." "This is an international challenge. This is important to the entire globe. The United States is going to make sure that we take all actions necessary, diplomatic and otherwise, to achieve that outcome.". . .here

Now a reminder that Pompeo is the US Secretary of State in charge of national diplomacy and has nothing to do with national military affairs, so take his verbal garbage with a grain of pompous salt, and let's see what happens next.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 17 2019 2:52 utc | 99

« High confidence » = « highly likely » = « 17 secret agencies agree » = « pure unadulterated bullshit »

Posted by: Featherless | Jun 17 2019 4:35 utc | 100

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