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Plot to Provoke War with Iran Thwarted by Navy Analyst

By Juan Cole


August 27, 2012 "Information Clearing House" ---- Shorter WaPo: In spring of 2007, someone in the Bush administration (unindicted co-conspirator Richard Bruce Cheney? Neocons?) Sends uber hawk Vice Admiral Kevin J. Cosgriff to Oil Gulf with instructions to provoke a war with Iran. He allegedly toys with challenging Iran’s claim to half of the Shatt al-Arab. He certainly decided abruptly to bring two aircraft carriers to the Gulf, in hopes of provoking Iran into doing something stupid, and without telling the State Department or the White House.

He also pushes analysis alleging that Bahrain Shiites intend anti-American terrorism on behalf of Iran.

Adviser to the Navy Gwenyth Todd (former National Security Council staffer) rightly challenges this stupid conspiracy theory (Bahrain Shiites are mostly Arab Akhbaris who reject ayatollahs, and would not slavishly obey Persian, Usuli Iran!).

I.e. Cosgriff was allegedly nearly making a coup in order to get up a war. Failing something so drastic, he may have (or his Neocon superiors may have) hoped to forestall direct talks with Iran that month.

Todd blows the whistle on Cosgriff, letting State know about his intended insubordination. Word gets back to Neocons or whoever was behind the provocation and Cosgriff that Todd was the leak. She is abruptly deprived of her base pass and security clearance, a trumped up case is made against her with the FBI that she received money from a former boyfriend who did illegal consulting with Sudan (she says she returned the small sum he sent her). Todd’s career is ruined, her inquiries and grievances are ignored, she marries an Austrlian naval officer and goes into exile in Perth. FBI harasses her even there.

Todd’s account is corroborated by Navy sources speaking off the record, according to the Washington Post.

But there are lots of reasons to believe there is something to her charges.

What happened to her was typical of Neoconservative ways of operating. Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, Richard Perle, Scooter Libby, and other Israel partisans inside the Pentagon or in Cheney’s office repeatedly played dirty tricks, held meetings and did not invite principals, contolled meeting agendas, and spied on and tried to discredit foeign service officers at the State Department, according to FSOs who have privately talked to me. The Neocons did these things in order to get up the Iraq War, which they thought would protect Israel. According to Wesley Clark, they hoped for a series of wars. In 2007 Cheney was clearly pushing for a war on Iran. Many of the Neoconservatives had left government by 2007, but the network remained powerful, especially in Cheney’s office.

Among the victims/ witnesses was Karen Kwiatkowsky, who served in Feith’s Office of Special Plans, which cherry-picked raw intelligence, stove-piped it to the White House, illegally and inaccurately pbriefed Congress on intelligence, and generally behaved like a seedy third world secret police cell. She was appalled at what she saw.

A similar dirty trick was played on Joe Wilson and his wife, Valerie Plame, when Wilson blew the whistle on the Bush administration’s falsehoods about alleged Iraqi ‘weapons of masss destruction.’ Plame was investigated by Karl Rove and Scooter Libby, who discovered she was CIA undercover, and they tried to spead the information around to the press in hopes of weakening Wilson’s credibility.

And, since I consulted in DC with government analysts about how to uproot al-Qaeda, and elements in the Bush White House minded my having influence with the analysts, someone in the WH in late 2005 ordered the CIA to spy on me and attempt to destroy my reputation (very illegal).

If Gwenyth Todd’s story is true, she is owed thanks by her country for thwarting a plot to get up a war on Iran. Given the things we know about how the Neocons operated, it is entirely plausible.

A dark thought: the Neocons have glommed onto Mitt Romney and will come to power if he does, and they still desperately want a war on Iran.

Juan Cole is Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan. www.juancole.com

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