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 When an Israeli lobbyist suggested last week that "someone" should create a false flag incident in order to get a war going with Iran (because "Iranians aren't going to compromise" and start it for us), it created a small stir in political circles.

"We could step up the pressure. I mean look people, Iranian submarines periodically go down, some day one of them might not come up, who would know why?"
  - Patrick Clawson

  People shouldn't have been very surprised. Things have been getting pushed in this direction by war-hawks for some time.

 Using a false flag incident against Iran to start a shooting war is hardly an original idea.
In 1988 the USS Vincennes shot down Iran Air Flight 655, killing 290 innocent civilians. Flight 655 was in Iranian airspace, while the Vincennes was also in Iranian waters at the time trying to destroy Iranian speedboats, which were also in Iranian waters.
   The men of the Vincennes were given medals and the U.S. never admitting to making a mistake.

Not a Le Carre spy novel

   In February of 2011, a middle-aged man rang the doorbell of the home of a US citizen and Australian resident, Gwenyth Todd - a former Middle East adviser to the White House, the Pentagon and the US Navy.
    He claimed to be from the US embassy and investigating a case involving Chinese hackers and U.S. passports. It was all a lie.

  Once inside the house he told Ms Todd - whose married surname begins with an H - he was speaking to US citizens with surnames starting with that letter.

''I said, 'Your story has a problem because my last name on my US passport does not begin with an H, my last name is Todd','' she told the Herald.

''He got all flustered, and he said, 'Oh wait, let me think, R, S, T … oh yeah, Ts were compromised, too.' It was so bad it was almost comical.''

Mr Phelps left soon after. ''I said to my husband, 'I think that guy is intel. I could smell a rat'.''

 The next day he returned, and when pressed, admitted that he was from the FBI and he was actually investigating a case involving her former partner, the State Department official Robert Cabelly, who got involved with illegally laundering Sudan oil money.
 She believes US authorities suspect her of being a part of the alleged conspiracy, a claim she denies. She was interviewed by the FBI three years ago about the matter and co-operated fully.
 What isn't said here is that in order to "clear up this passport problem" she would probably have to have gone to the US embassy, and thus beyond the reach of Australian law.
    Todd shouldn't be too surprised that the American government is still trying to smear her. She had already had her career stripped because she commited the unpardonable sin of trying to stop a war based on lies. Some people will never forgive that.

The strange case of Gwenyth Todd

   In 2005 Gwenyth Todd, 42 years old at the time, began a job as contract political advisor to the Navy's 5th Fleet in Bahrain. She was no dove.
    Todd was part of the lobbying effort to put sanctions on Iraq in the 1990's. On the other hand, she also had no problem with exposing corruption within the military.

 ''She has openly spoken out against the 'friendly fire' assertion on the death of Pat Tillman [in Afghanistan] - he was shot at close range in the head, which is not friendly fire. She helped expose a senior American Israel Public Affairs Committee spy, by wearing a wiretap for the FBI. And she spoke out against the [maverick admiral's plot] to create havoc … and possibly a war with Iran.''
 That last statement is where all the trouble started.
 Previous 5th Fleet commanders had resisted various ploys by Bush administration hawks to threaten the Tehran regime. But in spring 2007, a new commander arrived with an ambitious program to show the Iranians who was boss in the Persian Gulf.
 Vice Adm. Kevin J. Cosgriff was a neo-con star, spanning both the Clinton and Bush White House.
   Cosgriff’s plan was to sail 3 aircraft carriers into the Persian Gulf, unannounced, without even telling our Saudi allies beforehand.
  Not only that, they said, Cosgriff ordered his staff to keep the State Department in the dark, too.
   For the past year, the air had been electric with reports of impending U.S. or Israeli attacks on Iran. If this maneuver were carried out, Todd and others feared, the Iranians would freak out. At the least, they’d cancel a critical diplomatic meeting coming up with U.S. officials. Todd suspected that was Cosgriff’s aim. She and others also speculated that Cosgriff wouldn’t propose such a brazen plan without Fallon’s support.
   Retired Adm. David C. Nichols, deputy Centcom commander in 2007, recalled in an interview last year that Fallon “wanted to do a freedom-of-navigation exercise in what Iran calls its territorial waters that we hadn’t done in a long time.” Nothing wrong with that, per se, but the problem was that “we don’t understand Iran’s perception of what we’re doing, and we haven’t understood what they’re doing and why,” Nichols said. “It makes miscalculations possible.”
 Actually we know from the 1988 experience exactly what this "freedom-of-navigation" exercise with warships would do - it would end with a lot of innocent people getting killed. Plus, once the shooting starts, the neo-cons would be likely to escalate it into a war.
   This is exactly how the Gulf of Tonkin incident happened.
 Don’t tell anybody? No way.
   Todd picked up the phone and called a friend in Foggy Bottom. She had to get this thing stopped.
Her contact alerted superiors in the State Department, and Consgriff was told to stand down. Cosgriff was furious.
 Administration officials privy to the affair, meanwhile, said they were surprised when Fallon portrayed himself, in a much-talked-about 2008 Esquire interview, as nearly single-handedly stopping Bush administration hawks from starting a war with Iran. Because of the uproar over the article, he resigned shortly after.
 Todd thought the problem was over. Instead they had just begun.
    FBI agents showed up in Bahrain to question her about Cabelly. She hired a lawyer.

  Then things got fishy.

 Then, on Dec. 13, 2007, he summoned her to his office. An intelligence report had come in about a possible Iran-backed attack on U.S. personnel in Bahrain. The report, which she guessed originated with the local CIA station, said the attacks were to be led by Bahrain’s top Shiite religious figure, Isa Qassim.
   Todd thought the report was fishy. Although Bahrain’s Shiites did oppose the U.S.-backed Sunni monarchy, they’re Arabs, eternal enemies of the Persian Iranians. And Qassim himself, it happened, had warned Todd just the previous day that anti-monarchy demonstrators might attack places frequented by U.S. personnel.
   Cosgriff “asked me if I could go out and verify the information at the source — an informant in Dirza, a Shia village — saying that he realized it was dangerous,” Todd said.
 After meeting with an informant, who denied the report, she returned at 10:30 only to find that her security badge no longer worked.
   She managed to talk her way onto the base and file a report disputing the previous reports claims. It turns out that Cosgriff had cancelled her security badge the same day he had sent her out on a dangerous mission.
   Ten days later her contract with the Navy was cancelled without explanation.
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