Under a False Flag

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Recently by Justin Raimondo: The Return of the Chickenhawks

Will Israel succeed in dragging us into war with Iran?

If not, it won't be for lack of trying. Their influential lobby in the US has been agitating for a US strike since the last year of the Bush presidency, when they almost succeeded in pulling it off: fortunately for us, Bush demurred, perhaps because he didn't want his legacy to be two unwinnable and disastrous wars instead of just one.

Israel was to be the spearhead, with the US providing back up support, as the Guardian reported at the time:

u201CIsrael gave serious thought this spring to launching a military strike on Iran’s nuclear sites but was told by President George W Bush that he would not support it and did not expect to revise that view for the rest of his presidency, senior European diplomatic sources have told the Guardian.u201D

Deterred from firing the first shots of World War III, the Israelis didn't give up. Instead, they turned to other less direct means to achieve their goal. As Mark Perry reports on foreignpolicy.com:

u201CBuried deep in the archives of America’s intelligence services are a series of memos, written during the last years of President George W. Bush’s administration, that describe how Israeli Mossad officers recruited operatives belonging to the terrorist group Jundallah by passing themselves off as American agents. According to two U.S. intelligence officials, the Israelis, flush with American dollars and toting U.S. passports, posed as CIA officers in recruiting Jundallah operatives — what is commonly referred to as a u2018false flag' operation.u201D

You bet those memos are buried deep — lest Americans discover that their faithful u201Calliesu201D are trying to implicate them in war crimes.

Jundallah is a terrorist organization, Sunni-oriented and linked to al-Qaeda, that has murdered Iranian civilians in bombings and other attacks within Iran: their ostensible goal is to u201Cliberateu201D Iranian (and Pakistani) Baluchistan. According to the memos, the Israelis recruited these terrorists right out in the open in London, where Mossad operatives — posing as CIA officers — met with Jundallah officials. u201CIt's amazing what the Israelis thought they could get away with,u201D Perry quotes one intelligence officer as saying. u201CThey apparently didn't give a damn what we thought.u201D

Of course not — and why should they? After all, we've given them a pass every time: when Jonathan Pollard stole what US officials described as the intelligence community's u201Ccrown jewelsu201D and passed them off to the Russians; when they stole our trade and military secrets and passed them off to China: when they were tracking the 9/11 conspirators and didn't tell us what Mohammed Atta and his crew were up to. They took our u201Cforeign aidu201D with one hand, and stabbed us in the back with the other.

What did we do about it, and what were the consequences for the Israelis?

The answer is: nothing, and none: nor has the story changed much this time around. Perry reports:

u201CA senior administration official vowed to u2018take the gloves off' with Israel… but the United States did nothing — a result that the officer attributed to u2018political and bureaucratic inertia.’u201D

u201C'In the end,' the officer noted, u2018it was just easier to do nothing than to, you know, rock the boat.' Even so, at least for a short time, this same officer noted, the Mossad operation sparked a divisive debate among Bush’s national security team, pitting those who wondered u2018just whose side these guys [in Israel] are on' against those who argued that u2018the enemy of my enemy is my friend.'u201D

Oh well, I suppose you could call the cancellation of those planned joint US-Israeli military exercises more than nothing. Although Washington is claiming the cancellation is due to a desire to dial down tensions in the region, that didn't stop them from ordering their warships to the Persian Gulf. In any case, the cancellation of u201CAustere Challenge 12u201D will hardly stop the Israelis from pursuing their plan to provoke the Iranians into attacking US facilities and/or personnel in the region. After all, since there are never any significant consequences attendant on their bad behavior, what have they got to lose?

The Americans don't dare come out in public and take Tel Aviv to task: the powerful Israel lobby would have the President's scalp, and Congress — aptly characterized as u201CIsraeli-occupied territoryu201D by the politically incorrect Pat Buchanan — would probably pass a resolution condemning their own President if Obama dared step out of line. And then there is all that campaign money the Democrats hope to scarf up this worrisome election season: taking the Israelis out to the wood shed would enrage the big money-bags who make unconditional support for Israel the price of their support.

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Justin Raimondo [send him mail] is editorial director of Antiwar.com and is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard and Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement.

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