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The World Is About To Change.

(Originally published by Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth)

Seeking Justice for 9/11 Heroes: An Interview with New York Area Fire Commissioner Christopher Gioia

Andrew Steele: On July 24, 2019, the Franklin Square and Munson Fire District, which oversees a volunteer fire department that serves a hamlet of 30,000 residents, just outside of Queens, New York, made history by unanimously passing a resolution that supports a new investigation into the events of September 11, 2001, becoming the first legislative body in the country to do so.

Today, we’re joined by the man who introduced that resolution, Christopher Gioia. He’s a former firefighter and chief of the Franklin Square and Munson Fire Department, and now a commissioner that oversees that department. Mr. Gioia, welcome to the show.

Christopher Gioia: Thank you very much, Mr. Steele.

Steele: Before we get into the big news that everybody is talking about in the movement, and all throughout alternative media, we want to get to know you a little bit more, so please tell us about yourself and your career.

Gioia: Well, let’s see. I am presently in the construction industry. Franklin Square Fire Department is a volunteer fire department. We’re comprised of people from all walks and all trades. I’ve been in Franklin Square, I guess, for most of my life. I grew up maybe a block away from the firehouse, so when I was growing up, I used to sit on the curb and watch the firetrucks go by. I always wanted to be a fireman.

In the meantime, I completed high school, and I had joined the Marine Corps. When I had gotten out of the Marine Corps, I came back to town, and I wanted to continue my service, because the fire department is a paramilitary organization, so I went to the fire department, and I joined the local fire department. I’ve been with the Franklin Square/Munson Fire Department now for 32 years. I rose through the ranks, lieutenant and captain. I went through the chief’s office. We have three chiefs, second assistant, first assistant, and then you become chief of department. Those are two-year terms.

Then some years went by. We also have the fire district, which is comprised of five fire commissioners, who are responsible for the buildings and the grounds, the maintenance of the equipment, uniforms, and such. Pretty much, it’s administrative, and you pay the bills, but it is an elected position, and you have to submit a petition and run for office, and there are other people out there that you have to run against, so you actually have to mount a campaign. Then whatever monies, because it’s public money, everything has to be done according to state law. Everything has to be voted on, and there’s policies and procedures, and everything has to be on the up and up and above board.

We are audited by the state. We have our own internal auditors. Every penny is accounted for, and we do run a tight ship over here. I’ve been a commissioner now for about, I guess, three years. They’re five-year terms, so I’m probably about halfway through. You lose track of time. When you get older, things have a tendency to blur a little bit.

Steele: Is it just one term that you have or are allowed, or are you allowed to run again, when the five years are up?

Gioia: You can run again for another five-year term. You could actually stay in office. The other four commissioners have been in office 10, 15, maybe 20 years, so I’m pretty much the new kid on the block. The other members… We have another ex-chief, who’s sitting on the board, as well. He was chief of the department back in the late ’80s or the early ’90s. That would actually be Commissioner Malloy. Then you have Commissioner Saltzman, who is a member of Engine Company Number Three. You have Commissioner Lyons, who is a member of Engine Company Number Two. Commissioner Joseph Torregrossa, he’s the chairman, and he’s also a member of Engine Company Number Two.

You can run again. Five-year terms is a long time, but if you’re in there, and you like what you’re doing, it’s pretty procedural after… For me, personally, after being chief and being commissioner, coming into the district, it’s actually a less hectic pace. When you’re chief, you respond to every call, and you’re out there on the front lines. Pretty much, the commissioners are the ones in the background, just paying all the bills. It’s a lot less hectic. It’s more relaxed. When you get a little older, you want to be a little bit more relaxed.

Steele: I understand that myself, as I’m getting older. Believe me. Now, please tell us about your 9/11 story. Where were you on the day of September 11th, and how did you first hear the news?

Gioia: On 9/11, I was working… As I said, I do construction for a living. I’m a construction surveyor. I work for a large construction company. I was working on new construction of a small power plant on the river, the East River in Brooklyn, just north of the Williamsburg Bridge. I was working with a gentleman, who works in Upstate New York. We were working. We’re less than two miles from the Trade Center, and you have a spectacular view of Manhattan from the Brooklyn side of the river.

We heard this explosion, me and my partner, and he remarked something like, “Is somebody blasting around here?” Because he knew what the sound was. It didn’t register, so we looked around, and somebody said, “Hey, look! The Trade Center, the Twin Towers, is on fire.” We were looking at it, and we’re like… We pretty much knew right away. We’re like, okay, a plane hit it or a helicopter hit it. It was up high, and there was enough smoke and fire that we could see.

Then somebody ran out of one of the trailers and said that a plane had hit the North Tower. It was a spectacularly beautiful day. It was just this beautiful blue sky. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and it was this perfect day. I’m thinking to myself, I’m like, this guy, whoever was flying the plane, how could you hit the building? It’s just absolutely perfect flying weather.

I have survey equipment, which is pretty much like a telescope, so we focused the instruments on the North Tower, and I could see the imprint of the plane. I could actually see everything. Just looking at it, it was registering that we all thought it was maybe a small propeller plane, like a Piper Cub or something like that, but just from looking at the damage, it was like you knew that it was something larger.

In the meantime, then, the person… People were running around, scurrying, and they didn’t know what was going on, and then all of a sudden, we were watching. Then from our vantage point, we couldn’t see the plane coming from the other side, because the second plane that hit the South Tower came from the Statue of Liberty side, which is the New Jersey side, and the building exploded, and it blew out on the side, and then all hell broke loose. We were like, we’re under attack, you know?

People just wanted to leave the job. Me and my partner, we were transfixed on what we were seeing, because we had the instruments set up, and people wanted to see what was going on. We actually could see people waving for help. I could see people waving their clothes from the windows. I actually saw the lady who was perched at the bottom of the impact hole in the North Tower. I believe she was identified, and she ultimately wound up being killed, but I saw her.

Then it got even worse, because then you saw people jumping out of the building, and then that was it. I couldn’t watch it anymore, and I had to get home to my wife and my kids. My son was just about a year old. I told my boss. I said, “Listen, I’m out of here,” so I jumped in my truck, and we’re about… From Brooklyn to my house is probably about 20 miles, and it’s about maybe five or six miles to get to the Brooklyn Queens Expressway.

When I had driven about five miles to get on the expressway, when I got up to the expressway, I looked in the rear view mirror, and the whole sky of Manhattan down by the Trade Centers was just blacked out by this cloud. I guess the North Tower had collapsed, but I didn’t know it yet. People had just stopped on the highway, and everybody was just staring. I turned on the radio, and then all kinds of reports were coming in. I just, I flew home, and I made it home in record time. It must’ve taken me 15-20 minutes, because I was literally doing 90 miles an hour down the highway to get home.

I got home, and I threw open the door. My wife looked at me, and she goes, the South Tower just collapsed. I couldn’t understand. I said to her, I go, “What do you mean the South Tower just collapsed?” I go, “What happened to the North Tower?” She said, “That one collapsed 15 minutes ago.” I just sat back down on the couch with my wife, and we just sat there, and we watched TV. We were just in shock, because it was just too much to take in. We just sat there, and we just watched, watched the TV, and we just watched everything, as it unfolded.

Steele: It was horrible enough to watch it on television from Florida, where I was at the time. I can’t imagine standing there watching what you just described through your equipment that day, and seeing that. I know for New Yorkers, it had, of course, a more profound impact, because they actually lived it, people in New York and in the surrounding areas. It happened right in front of them. I understand that you had friends that died on September 11th. Do you want to tell us about them, and the lives that they lived?

Gioia: Yes, that’s correct, Andrew. I lost three of my friends, who were city firemen. One of them, Thomas Hetzel, was in the department here in Franklin Square. The other two lived in Franklin Square, and I was friends with them. I grew up with firefighter, Robert Evans. We used to pretty much hang out, maybe down at the park. He was a friend from school. Then the other firefighter, Michael Kiefer, he was one of these kids who used to come around the firehouse on his bicycle, and he was a… We’d call him a buff. He would have his scanner, and he would follow the trucks around. He grew up, and he joined the fire department.

He went into the towers. He responded. They never found him. I think they found little bits and pieces of Bobby. I was speaking to his sister the other day. They actually recovered some more parts or bone fragments. Tom they found in a stairwell. He was on his way out of the building. I was really good friends with Tom. I pretty much grew up with him. I went to his wedding. We did things together, and he was a good friend. They were all good people.

Continue reading “The World Is About To Change.”

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Global Peace And Security: World Leaders Betray The Canons Of Truth, Wisdom And Humanity.

This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 8 Jul 2019.

Anticopyright: Editorials and articles originated on TMS may be freely reprinted, disseminated, translated and used as background material, provided an acknowledgement and link to the source is included. Thank you.

Global Peace and Security: World Leaders Betray the Canons of Truth, Wisdom and Humanity

Today’s Political World at a Glance

6 Jul 2019 – Global politics is overwhelmingly becoming robotic when question of safeguard of the mankind comes up. Global political leaders are fast becoming actors on stage – issuing abstract statements of outrage and phony sense of grief when thousands and millions of human lives are constantly bombarded by the weapons they manufacture and sell to crush the human soul and to support the war economies. The UNO and its Secretary General and the UN Security Council – all are just debating clubs engaged in time killing exercises to deceive the mankind and to betray the ideals of the Charter to “safeguard the humanity from the scourge of wars.” Many top UN officials are paid employees with no sense of accountability to the global community.

The reality of man-made catastrophic conflicts enhanced by national interests and war-led economies are ingrained in the war racketeering plans across the globe. The 21st century knowledge-based informed mankind is the net victim of the global political monsters. Millions of human beings are forcibly displaced, evicted by plans and charcoaled by forbidden chemical weapons across the Middle East yet; most global leaders do nothing to prevent the aggressive catastrophes except statements of fake ‘outrage’ reaction as if others were inhuman casualties. We are witnessing abnormal political culture of human bloodbath as being normal.

The global community – a divided and dispersed mankind is unable to challenge the war racketeers and global hangmen who claim to be political leaders. They are egoistic professionals with big mouth without wisdom and full of self-engineered false democratic clichés, contradictions, distortions and misrepresentation of the rights of common citizens in modern democracies. These are frightening trends for the present and future generations to survive. Most of the economically influential actors occupy the political platforms – either through backdoor conspiracies or entrenched political intrigues.

They profess to be intelligent and outspoken for the rights of the people but in reality are offensive to truth and listening to voices of reason and honesty. How do we call for a balancing act in a world terribly imbalanced by nationalism, political and economic ideologies of supremacy and shallow imaginations and practices of human equality, human rights, peace and harmony amongst all the diverse segments of the living humanity?

We cannot abandon the search for a better and more rational world of systematic mechanism to protect the peace and security of the mankind on this One Planet. We, the People, We the Humanity and conscientious thinkers and scholars must wake-up to the immense sophisticated and technologically advanced challenges to disconnect us from the Nature of Things and to dehumanize us by global scenarios of ethnicities, nationalism, state borders and cultural superiorities and ruling class distinctions. William Godwin (Enquiry Concerning Political Justice and Its Influence on Modern Moral and Happiness, 1793), said it right:

Men of genius must rise up….to analyse the machine of society to demonstrate how the parts are connected together… and point out the defects and remedy. It is thus only that important reforms can be produced…He who is a friend to general happiness will neglect no chance of producing in his pupil or his child, one of the long-looked for saviours of the human race.

Do We, the People, Realize to Be One Humanity on One Earth?

We are One Humanity on One Planet and we have a right to be here in peace and harmony, not in conflicts, not collaborators to kill the mankind and destruction of the human environment and habitats. This will be contrary to our Nature and inhuman if we cannot come to terms with our peaceful co-existence, identity and responsibility being the chief guardians of the living planet in a living Universe.  We, the humanity lives on a balanced Planet – Earth located at a measured distance from the Sun and Moon and other stars.

God created the Universe and blessed it with all functionalities and provisions for life-sustaining factors since millions and billions of years. Do you realize if there was no water, no oxygen or hydrogen and other gases or sun light to support all the living creations – what would have been the shape and form of life on Earth?

Could we the human kind count the blessings of God to maintain life for millions and billions of years on this planet?  All things exist in a mathematical order, whether we recognize it or deny it. So strange, we know all about other material things and scientific – technological developments but we are ignorant and arrogant to learn about our own origin and existence on a living planet. We are born from mother’s tummy – one and the same all over the globe – One Humanity.

Continue reading “Global Peace And Security: World Leaders Betray The Canons Of Truth, Wisdom And Humanity.”

Gulf Of Tonkin, Incubator Babies, 9/11, WMD, Viagra, Sea Of Oman…

By Jerry Alatalo

Is humanity witnessing the end of the false flag wars era of history?

hile we begin with the Gulf of Tonkin false flag which was deceptively and tragically used as “justification” for the Vietnam War, the use of false flags for starting illegal wars of aggression goes back much further in the history of mankind. With the most recent example, the incidents in the Sea of Oman, being perceived by such a wide-ranging and significant number of people on Earth as a false flag, one might suggest humanity is witnessing a definite crossroad, turning point and end of an era.

It was on an evening nationwide broadcast in 1964 where United States President Lyndon Johnson told the American people that war in Vietnam was coming, all the while knowing the Gulf of Tonkin incident was a false flag which never occurred, and undoubtedly lied through his teeth to the world. Millions of Vietnamese men, women and children perished; sixty thousand American soldiers perished; according to Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, the level of destruction in Vietnam was four times the level of destruction in all nations on Earth during the entire World War II.

In the first war against Iraq in the early 1990s, then U.S. President George H. W. Bush led the way and went along with Washington politicians and corporate media organizations, strongly pushing the lie about Iraqi soldiers in Kuwait “tearing babies out of their incubators!”. Tens of thousands of Iraqis perished from American bombings, the war begun and “justified” on cunning lies.

In damning contrast to a typical building collapse, the explosive demolition of the Twin Towers on 9/11 saw steel beams laterally ejected with enough force to impale the nearby skyscraper.

Undoubtedly the 9/11 false flag of September 11, 2001 represents the #1 greatest military deception in human history, and was used as the basis for a still-operative, immeasurably destructive, bogus, catastrophic “war on (of) terror”. After 17 years, the good men and women of the 9/11 justice legal group Lawyers’ Committee for 9/11 Inquiry were able to force U.S. Attorneys at the Southern District of New York to agree, in March 2018, to a Grand Jury for the purpose of examining evidence of, among other major alleged crimes, the controlled demolitions of the Buildings 1, 2 and 7 on September 11, 2001.

The Lawyers’ Committee for 9/11 Inquiry is still waiting – some 15 months later – to present their enormous compilation of powerful evidence in the yet-to-begin Grand Jury process. It is highly likely that, once the 9/11 Grand Jury process finally begins, it will inevitably become shown and proven that 9/11 was indeed a false flag event, and the course of human history will become radically transformed, in an extremely positive manner which reduces the criminal practice of war on Earth to near nonexistent status.

This is why it is important for the American people to support the Lawyers’ Committee for 9/11 Inquiry in its efforts to reveal the brutal-yet-necessary truth.

After the 9/11 false flag events were successfully and deceptively described, and largely accepted by the American people, as an act of war by Middle East terrorists, the administration of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney et al joined with the United Kingdom’s Tony Blair and other western nation leaders in pushing the lies that Saddam Hussein of Iraq was close to possessing nuclear weapons of mass destruction, and Hussein’s being involved in the attacks of 9/11.

Even years after the second Iraq War ended, a significant number of Americans still believe Hussein was involved in the 9/11 attacks.

With little opposition, and helped by Bush administration Secretary of State Colin Powell’s outright lying at the now infamous United Nations Security Council meeting on Iraq, – like Lyndon Johnson before him, George W. Bush went on nationwide prime time television announcing the beginning of “shock and awe” bombing of Iraq.

An estimated one million Iraqi men, women and children perished in the illegal war of aggression, millions became displaced and refugees, – while thousands of American soldiers were killed, and many more thousands suffered physical, psychological and spiritual injuries of immense proportion.

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was eventually murdered in grisly fashion, after the Barack Obama administration used more war propaganda deception to convince uninformed Americans to go along with the intense 2011 bombing of Libya by U.S./NATO forces.

Among the set of lies coming from Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton were those falsely accusing Gaddafi of supplying his soldiers with Viagra for the purpose of using rape as a weapon of war. Obama, like Lyndon Johnson and George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush before him, lied to the American people and the world by asserting military action was urgent, because Gaddafi was, Obama deceivingly emphasized at the time, within days of starting to massacre thousands of his own people.

Many feel the true reason for the 2011 overthrow and murder of Gaddafi was his serious and real intention of establishing an African currency, and securing for the first time monetary independence for the people of the African continent. Many feel Hillary Clinton’s obscene display of self-satisfied delight, marked forever in history by her repugnant “We came, we saw, he died!” followed by a shocking eruption of laughter, was a major factor leading to her defeat in the 2016 election.

In Syria, a number of false flag chemical attacks have occurred during the warring time period starting from March 2011 to now, in June 2019. Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have perished in the fighting while millions have become displaced, and to date no foreign state-sponsors of terrorist killers operating in Syria have become held accountable. Fortunately, thus far the chemical weapons deceptions have been unsuccessful at sparking any dangerous escalation of violence leading to world war.

On Thursday June 13, 2019 in the Sea of Oman …

This endless war deception insanity needs to stop … And it must become stopped now.

(Thank you to RT at YouTube)

Pretexts For An Attack On Iran.

(Originally published on Consortium News)

Ray McGovern probes the step-up in U.S. belligerence towards a country posing the same non-existent strategic threat as Iraq.

By Ray McGovern
Special to Consortium News

An Iraq-War redux is now in full play, with leading roles played by some of the same protagonists — President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, for example, who says he still thinks attacking Iraq was a good idea. Co-starring is Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The New York Times on Tuesday played its accustomed role in stoking the fires, front-paging areport that, at Bolton’s request, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has come up with an updated plan to send as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East, should Iran attack American forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons. The Times headline writer, at least, thought it appropriate to point to echoes from the past: “White House Reviews Military Plans Against Iran, in Echoes of Iraq War.”

By midday, Trump had denied the Times report, branding it “fake news.” Keep them guessing, seems to be the name of the game.

Following the Iraq playbook, Bolton and Pompeo are conjuring up dubious intelligence from Israel to “justify” attacking — this time — Iran. (For belligerent Bolton, this was entirely predictable.) All this is clear.

Bolton the Belligerent. (Gage Skidmore via Flickr)

What is not clear, to Americans and foreigners alike, is why Trump would allow Bolton and Pompeo to use the same specious charges — terrorism and nuclear weapons — to provoke war with a country that poses just as much strategic threat to the U.S. as Iraq did — that is to say, none. The corporate media, with a two-decade memory-loss and a distinct pro-Israel bias, offers little help toward understanding.

Before discussing the main, but unspoken-in-polite-circles, impulse behind the present step-up in threats to Iran, let’s clear some underbrush by addressing the two limping-but-still-preferred, ostensible rationales, neither of which can bear close scrutiny:

No. 1: It isn’t because Iran is the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism. We of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity shot down that canard a year and a half ago. In a Memorandum for President Trump, we said:

“The depiction of Iran as ‘the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism’ is not supported by the facts. While Iran is guilty of having used terrorism as a national policy tool in the past, the Iran of 2017 is not the Iran of 1981. In the early days of the Islamic Republic, Iranian operatives routinely carried out car bombings, kidnappings and assassinations of dissidents and of American citizens. That has not been the case for many years.”

No. 2. It isn’t because Iran is building a nuclear weapon. A November 2007 U.S. National Intelligence Estimate concluded unanimously that Iran had stopped working on a nuclear weapon in 2003 and had not resumed any such work. That judgment has been re-affirmed by the Intelligence Community annually since then.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal, imposed strict, new, verifiable restrictions on Iranian nuclear-related activities and was agreed to in July 2015 by Iran, the U.S., Russia, China, France, the U.K., Germany and the European Union.

U.S. team on way to JCPOA meeting at UN, New York City, 2016. (State Department)

Even the Trump administration has acknowledged that Iran has been abiding by the agreement’s provisions. Nevertheless, President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal on May 8, 2018, four weeks after John Bolton became his national security adviser.

‘We Prefer No Outcome’

Fair WarningWhat follows may come as a shock to those malnourished on the drivel in mainstream media: The “WHY,” quite simply, is Israel. It is impossible to understand U.S. Middle East policy without realizing the overwhelming influence of Israel on it and on opinion makers. (A personal experience drove home how strong the public appetite is for the straight story, after I gave a half-hour video interview to independent videographer Regis Tremblay three years ago. He titled it “The Inside Scoop on the Middle East & Israel,” put it on YouTube and it got an unusually high number of views.)

Syria is an illustrative case in point, since Israel has always sought to secure its position in the Middle East by enlisting U.S. support to curb and dominate its neighbors. An episode I recounted in that interview speaks volumes about Israeli objectives in the region as a whole, not only in Syria. And it includes an uncommonly frank admission/exposition of Israeli objectives straight from the mouths of senior Israeli officials. It is the kind of case-study, empirical approach much to be preferred to indulging in ponderous pronouncements or, worse still, so-called “intelligence assessments.”

It has long been clear that Israeli leaders have powerful incentives to get Washington more deeply engaged in yet another war in the area. This Israeli priority has become crystal clear in many ways. Reporter Jodi Rudoren, writing from Jerusalem, had an important article in TheNew York Times on Sept. 6, 2013, in which she addressed Israel’s motivation in a particularly candid way. Her article, titled “Israel Backs Limited Strike against Syria,” noted that the Israelis have argued, quietly, that the best outcome for Syria’s civil war, at least for the moment, is no outcome.

Rudoren wrote:

Jodi Rudoren. (Twitter)

“For Jerusalem, the status quo, horrific as it may be from a humanitarian perspective, seems preferable to either a victory by Mr. Assad’s government and his Iranian backers or a strengthening of rebel groups, increasingly dominated by Sunni jihadis.

“‘This is a playoff situation in which you need both teams to lose, but at least you don’t want one to win — we’ll settle for a tie,’ said Alon Pinkas, a former Israeli consul general in New York. ‘Let them both bleed, hemorrhage to death: that’s the strategic thinking here. As long as this lingers, there’s no real threat from Syria.’”

If this is the way Israel’s current leaders look at the carnage in Syria, they seem to believe that deeper U.S. involvement, including military action, is likely to ensure that there is no early resolution of the conflict especially when Syrian government forces seem to be getting the upper hand. The longer Sunni and Shia are at each other’s throats in Syria and in the wider region, the safer Israel calculates it will be.

The fact that Syria’s main ally is Iran, with whom it has a mutual defense treaty, also plays a role in Israeli calculations. And since Iranian military support has not been enough to destroy those challenging Bashar al-Assad, Israel can highlight that in an attempt to humiliate Iran as an ally.

Today the geography has shifted from Syria to Iran: What’s playing out in the Persian Gulf area is a function of the politically-dictated obsequiousness of American presidents to the policies and actions of Israel’s leaders. This bipartisan phenomenon was obvious enough under recent presidents like Clinton and Obama; but under Bush II and Trump, it went on steroids, including a born-again, fundamentalist religious aspect.

One need hardly mention the political power of the Israel lobby and the lucrative campaign donations from the likes of Sheldon Adelson. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is riding high, at least for the now, Israeli influence is particularly strong in the lead-up to U.S. elections, and Trump has been acquitted of colluding with Russia.

The stars seem aligned for very strong “retaliatory strikes” for terrorist acts blamed on Iran.

Tonkin — er, I Mean Persian Gulf

Over the weekend, four vessels, including two Saudi oil tankers, were sabotaged near the Strait of Hormuz. Last evening The Wall Street Journal was the first to report an “initial U.S. assessment” that Iran likely was behind the attacks, and quoted a “U.S. official” to the effect that if confirmed, this would inflame military tensions in the Persian Gulf.The attacks came as the U.S. deploys an aircraft carrier, bombers and an antimissile battery to the Gulf — supposedly to deter what the Trump administration said is the possibility of Iranian aggression.

On Tuesday, Yemen’s Houthi rebels, with whom Saudi Arabia has been fighting a bloody war for the past four years, launched a drone attack on a Saudi east-west pipeline that carries crude to the Red Sea. This is not the first such attack; a Houthi spokesman said the attack was a response to Saudi “aggression” and “genocide” in Yemen. The Saudis shut down the pipeline for repair.

Thus the dangers in and around the Strait of Hormuz increase apace with U.S.-Iran recriminations. This, too, is not new.

Tension in the Strait was very much on Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen’s mind as he prepared to retire on Sept. 30, 2011. Ten days before, he told the Armed Force Press Service of his deep concern over the fact that the U.S. and Iran have had no formal communications since 1979:

“Even in the darkest days of the Cold War, we had links to the Soviet Union. We are not talking to Iran. So we don’t understand each other. If something happens, it’s virtually assured that we won’t get it right, that there will be miscalculations.”

Now the potential for an incident has increased markedly. Adm. Mullen was primarily concerned about the various sides — Iran, the U.S., Israel — making hurried decisions with, you guessed it, “unintended consequences.”

With Pompeo and Bolton on the loose, the world may be well advised to worry even more about “intended consequences” from a false flag attack. The Israelis are masters at this. The tactic has been in the U.S. clandestine toolkit for a long time, as well. In recent days, the Pentagon has reported tracking “anomalous naval activity” in the Persian Gulf, including loading small sailing vessels with missiles and other military hardware.

Cheney: Down to the Sea in Boats

In July 2008, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh reported that Bush administration officials had held a meeting in the vice president’s office in the wake of a January 2008 incident between Iranian patrol boats and U.S. warships in the Strait of Hormuz. The reported purpose of the meeting was to discuss ways to provoke war with Iran.

Hersh wrote:

Seymour Hersh. (Giorgio Montersino via Flickr)

“There were a dozen ideas proffered about how to trigger a war. The one that interested me the most was why don’t we build in our shipyard four or five boats that look like Iranian PT boats. Put Navy seals on them with a lot of arms. And next time one of our boats goes to the Straits of Hormuz, start a shoot-up. Might cost some lives.

“And it was rejected because you can’t have Americans killing Americans. That’s the kind of, that’s the level of stuff we’re talking about. Provocation.

“Silly? Maybe. But potentially very lethal. Because one of the things they learned in the [January 2008] incident was the American public, if you get the right incident, the American public will support bang-bang-kiss-kiss. Youknow, we’re into it.”

Preparing the (Propaganda) Battlefield

One of Washington’s favorite ways to blacken Iran and its leaders is to blame it for killing U.S. troops in Iraq. Iran was accused, inter alia, of supplying the most lethal improvised explosive devices, but sycophants like Gen. David Petraeus wanted to score points by blaming the Iranians for still more actions.

On April 25, 2008, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, Adm. Mike Mullen, told reporters that Gen. David Petraeus would be giving a briefing “in the next couple of weeks” that would provide detailed evidence of “just how far Iran is reaching into Iraq to foment instability.”

Petraeus’s staff alerted U.S. media to a major news event in which captured Iranian arms in Karbala, Iraq, would be displayed and then destroyed. But there was a small problem. When American munitions experts went to Karbala to inspect the alleged cache of Iranian weapons, they found nothing that could be credibly linked to Iran.

This embarrassing episode went virtually unreported in Western media – like the proverbial tree falling in the forest with no corporate media to hear it crash. A fiasco is only a fiasco if folks find out about it. The Iraqis did announce that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had formed his own Cabinet committee to investigate U.S. claims and attempt to “find tangible information and not information based on speculation.”

With his windsock full of neoconservative anti-Iran rhetoric, Petreaus, as CIA director, nevertheless persisted — and came up with even more imaginative allegations of Iranian perfidy. Think back, for example, to October 2011 and the outlandish White House spy feature at the time: the Iranian-American-used-car-salesman-Mexican-drug-cartel plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. And hold your nose.

More recently, the Pentagon announced it has upped its estimate of how many U.S. troops Iran killed in Iraq between 2003 and 2011. The revised death tally would mean that Iran is responsible for 17 percent of all U.S. troops killed in Iraq.

Who Will Restrain the ‘Crazies’?

Pompeo stopped off in Brussels on Monday to discuss Iran with EU leaders, skipping what would have been the first day of a two-day trip to Russia. Pompeo did not speak to the news media in Brussels, but European foreign ministers said that they had urged “restraint.”

Ghika: “Downplaying threat.” (Phillip McTaggart/U.S. Army)

British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt told reporters: “We are very worried about the risk of a conflict happening by accident, with an escalation that is unintended, really on either side.” British Army Major General Christopher Ghika was rebuked by U.S. Central Command for saying Tuesday: “There has been no increased threat from Iranian backed forces in Iraq and Syria.” Central Command spokesperson Captain Bill Urban said Ghika’s remarks “run counter to the identified credible threats available to intelligence from U.S. and allies regarding Iranian backed forces in the region.”

Although there is growing resentment at the many serious problems tied to Trump’s pulling the U.S. out of the Iran deal, and there is the EU’s growing pique at heavyweights like Pompeo crashing their gatherings uninvited, I agree with Pepe Escobar’s bottom line, that “it’s politically naïve to believe the Europeans will suddenly grow a backbone.”

There remains a fleeting hope that cooler heads in the U.S. military might summon the courage to talk some sense into Trump, in the process making it clear that they will take orders from neither Pompeo nor from National Security Advisor John Bolton. But the generals and admirals of today are far more likely in the end to salute and “follow orders.”

There is a somewhat less forlorn hope that Russia will give Pompeo a strong warning in Sochi — a shot across the bow, so to speak. The last thing Russia, China, Turkey and other countries want is an attack on Iran. Strategic realities have greatly changed since the two wars on Iraq.

In 1992, still in the afterglow of Desert Storm (the first Gulf War), former Gen. Wesley Clark asked then Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Paul Wolfowitz about major lessons to be drawn from the Desert Storm attack on Iraq in 1991. Without hesitation, Wolfowitz answered, “We can do these things and the Russians won’t stop us.” That was still true for the second attack on Iraq in 2003.

Paul Wolfowitz, as under secretary of defense for policy,  at right, taking notes during press conference during first Gulf War. (Lietmotiv via Flickr)

But much has changed since then: In 2014, the Russians stopped NATO expansion to include Ukraine, after the Western-sponsored coup in Kiev; and in the years that followed, Moscow thwarted attempts by the U.S., Israel, and others to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

No doubt Russian President Vladimir Putin would like to “stop us” before the Bolton/Pompeo team finds an “Iranian” casus belli. Initial reporting from Sochi, where Pompeo met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday indicates there was no meeting of the minds on Iran. Both Pompeo and Lavrov described their talks as “frank” — diplomat-speak for acrimonious.

Pompeo was probably treated to much stronger warnings in private during the Sochi talks with Lavrov and Putin. Either or both may even have put into play the potent China card, now that Russia and China have a relationship just short of a military alliance — a momentous alteration of what the Soviets used to call the “correlation of forces.”

In my mind’s eye, I can even see Putin warning, “If you attack Iran, you may wish to be prepared for trouble elsewhere, including in the South China Sea. Besides, the strategic balance is quite different from conditions existing each time you attacked Iraq. We strongly advise you not to start hostilities with Iran — under any pretext. If you do, we are ready this time.”

And, of course, Putin could also pick up the phone and simply call Trump.

There is no guarantee, however, that tough talk from Russia could stick an iron rod into the wheels of the juggernaut now rolling downhill to war on Iran. But, failing that kind of strong intervention and disincentive, an attack on Iran seems all but assured. Were we to be advising President Trump today, we VIPS would not alter a word in the recommendation at the very end of the Memorandum for President George W. Bush we sent him on the afternoon of Feb. 5, 2003, after Colin Powell addressed the UN Security Council earlier that day:

“No one has a corner on the truth; nor do we harbor illusions that our analysis is irrefutable or undeniable [as Powell had claimed his was]. But after watching Secretary Powell today, we are convinced that you would be well served if you widened the discussion … beyond the circle of those advisers clearly bent on a war for which we see no compelling reason and from which we believe the unintended consequences are likely to be catastrophic.”

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner city Washington. He was a CIA analyst for 27 years and presidential briefer and is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.