Spooks + Politicians + Hacks = War

I keep return­ing to this sub­ject, but it is troub­ling me deeply. Read­ing the runes, all things point to the fact that we are being act­ively groomed for yet anoth­er Middle East­ern war.

As I’ve said before, the pic­ture is clearly being drawn for those who wish to join the dots. At the end of last year the entire US intel­li­gence infra­struc­ture form­ally assessed that Iran had aban­doned its nuc­le­ar weapons pro­gramme in 2003. This, of course, did not suit the hawk­ish neo-con agenda in the States.

Then Mossad, the Israeli intel­li­gence out­fit, con­veni­ently pops up claim­ing that it has new, shit-hot intel­li­gence that dis­proves the US assess­ment. Mossad passes this on to the heads of MI6 and the CIA, and shortly after­wards the Prime Min­is­ter of Israel, Ehud Olmert, vis­its George Bush on a state vis­it to Amer­ica to dis­cuss his “con­cerns” about Iran.

The third part of the equa­tion fell into place this week. Con Cough­lin, writ­ing in the right-wing UK nation­al news­pa­per, The Daily Tele­graph, unques­tion­ingly regur­git­ates inform­a­tion from anonym­ous intel­li­gence sources who state that Iran is now devel­op­ing weapons grade uranium.

Cough­lin has form. For many years he worked for The Sunday Tele­graph, oth­er­wise known as the in-house journ­al of MI6. Read­ers of this site will know that MI6 has a sec­tion called Inform­a­tion Oper­a­tions (I/Ops), which manip­u­lates the media either by plant­ing false stor­ies or mas­sa­ging the facts to suit MI6’s interests. Well, rather embar­rass­ingly, Coughlin’s involve­ment in one such oper­a­tion was exposed a few years ago.

In 1995 he was shown “inform­a­tion” by an MI6 officer whom he described as “a seni­or bank­ing offi­cial” prov­ing that Col­on­el Gadaffi’s son, Saif Al Islam, was involved in a money-laun­der­ing scam with Iran. Cough­lin duti­fully repor­ted this, and this story was used by the For­eign Office to deny Al Islam a visa to live in the UK.

What Cough­lin, and his then edit­or Domin­ic Lawson (whose broth­er-in-law was a seni­or MI6 officer), didn’t appear to know as he took this story down in short­hand, was the MI6 officer was from I/Ops, and that he was plant­ing this story in the press to ensure that the son of a then Pri­or­ity 1 Joint Intel­li­gence Com­mit­tee tar­get could not come over the UK and live high on the hog. Too polit­ic­ally embar­rass­ing, old bean.

Al Islam nat­ur­ally sued, and The Sunday Tory­graph duly settled out of court once it real­ised that intel­li­gence whis­tleblower Dav­id Shayler knew the inside track on this libel­lous story and was pre­pared to give evid­ence in court.

Cough­lin was also instru­ment­al in get­ting stor­ies link­ing Sad­dam Hus­sein to WMD and Al Qaeda into the nation­al UK media in the run-up to the Iraq war, although the vigi­lent read­er will notice these stor­ies often con­tra­dict them­selves. So it’s inter­est­ing that he’s now break­ing more “news” sug­gest­ing pre­cisely what Mossad and gov­ern­ments of the UK and the USA would have us believe: that Iran is a real, devel­op­ing nuc­le­ar threat, and that there is a sound case for war.

Iran Threat — First the Spooks, now the Politicians

As I pos­ted on on 7 May, Israeli intel­li­gence is claim­ing it has new intel­li­gence that proves the recent US Nation­al Intel­li­gence Estim­ate wrong in its assess­ment of the nuc­le­ar threat posed by Iran.

Mossad claims to have sol­id intel­li­gence that proves Iran is still try­ing to devel­op a nuc­le­ar mil­it­ary cap­ab­il­ity. There have been recent high-level talks about this between the intel­li­gence agen­cies of the US, UK and Israel.

A report in The Guard­i­an today now indic­ates that the politi­cians are fol­low­ing suit. Israeli Prime Min­is­ter, Ehud Olmert, is set to meet Pres­id­ent Bush today to dis­cuss the threat from Iran. It would not sur­prise me if the US soon announces that it has proof of Iran’s nuc­le­ar intent, and tries to push for anoth­er a “pre-empt­ive”, and highly illeg­al, attack.

Iran threat ramped up

The Sunday Times repor­ted last week­end that Sir John Scar­lett, the cur­rent head of MI6, is to fly to Israel at the end of the month to meet his counter-part, Meir Dagan, the head of Mossad. White­hall has tried to down­play the meet­ing as “routine”. How­ever, the focus of the meet­ing appears to be to dis­cuss Israel’s assess­ment of Iran’s nuc­le­ar capability.

In recent years the neo-cons in power in the US have made no secret of their desire to “fin­ish the job” in the Middle East and attack Iran. For the last two years there has been much sabre-rat­tling on both sides. The polem­ics from the US usu­ally coin­cided with Iran’s plans to trade increas­ing amounts of its oil in euros. The south west region of Iran has vast oil reserves, and if Iran switched trad­ing cur­ren­cies, this would have an extremely det­ri­ment­al effect on the power of the petro­dol­lar, and the Amer­ic­an eco­nomy as a whole.

Lest we for­get, Sad­dam Hus­sein had also begun to trade in euros what little oil he could pri­or to the Iraq war in 2003. Scar­lett, a career MI6 officer, played a lead­ing role in mak­ing the case for that war. At the time he was Chair of the Joint Intel­li­gence Com­mit­tee, and came to pub­lic atten­tion when he signed off the notori­ous Septem­ber Dossier. It has since become appar­ent that Iraq did not have WMD, nor was it try­ing to acquire urani­um from Niger, as MI6 had stated in the dossier. This claim was based on forged documents.

So the tim­ing of the new Israeli intel­li­gence is inter­est­ing, to say the least. Last week, Iran announced that it was going to trade ALL its oil in euros and the yen, and Israel appears to be furi­ously lob­by­ing the US and UK about Iran’s increas­ing nuc­le­ar threat. Israeli intel­li­gence sources are claim­ing that they have inform­a­tion “on a par with” that which led to the bomb­ing of the Syr­i­an nuc­le­ar power station.

Based on this, they are ask­ing the US gov­ern­ment to reas­sess the level of threat posed by Iran. In Decem­ber 2007 the com­bined think­ing of the whole of America’s intel­li­gence infra­struc­ture was pub­lished in the US Nation­al Intel­li­gence Estim­ate. It clearly stated that Iran had stopped devel­op­ing its nuc­le­ar weapons pro­gramme in 2003 because of inter­na­tion­al pressure.

But the appar­ent tri­umph of inter­na­tion­al dip­lomacy does not suit the agenda of the hawks in the US admin­is­tra­tion. What could be bet­ter than to have the spy agen­cies of its closest allies con­veni­ently reveal new intel­li­gence say­ing that Iran now poses an increas­ing nuc­le­ar threat?