Plot to Provoke war with Iran thwarted by Navy analyst

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.

47 Responses

  1. May humanity go forward, just possibly? Or do we have to condemn our children to famine and war, as financial capitalism and petroleum-economy imperialism wreak havoc and ensure ocean death and severe climate crisis.

    Hopefully it’s not quite that dire, I am the historian who emphasizes the role of “muddling through” in human progress. Every election is the most important election ever, since every election occurs in the context of real human lives happening NOW, nevertheless this election in the United States of America, on Nov. 6, 2012, is just about the final turning point in the petroleum economy/political power/climate crisis conundrum that ensnares and paralyzes us all. Can there be any possibility of goodness and reform at all, or are we condemned by our own stupidity to rot in our waste products?

    • Can you spell “Wall-E?”

      Too bad the upcoming election is little but a choice between critters who agree on practices but have small differences on the pace at which the sh_t gets pitched at the fan.

      It’s a question of a choice of poisons — and whether a relatively few humans can screw it up for all the rest.

      I’m hopeful, for family reasons, that even if the worst happens, a few will figure out how to feed themselves and their loved ones even in a messed-up world. I personally doubt that there’s even a tiny chance of goodness and reform for all, when there are so many pigs up on the porch figuring out how to sucker the rest of the animals into buying the notion that the Declaration of the Rights of Animals can be reduced to “All Animals Are Equal, But Some Are More Equal Than Others.” Narcissism, hedonism, hypocrisy…

      • The differences between Romney and Obama are not “small differences” regarding climate change or anything else. You should really pay closer and less cynical attention. Next you’ll say there’s not a dime’s worth of difference.

    • it is that dire, but unfortunately this election decides very little. both candidates are committed to the power structure you describe.

      • The ‘power structure’ to which you refer is not monolithic. In fact, it is much nuanced and variegated. Your naively oversimplified view of things makes you say stupid uninformed things, which would be dangerous if anyone paid the least bit of attention to what you think. Luckily, that’s a far cry from reality. There is overlap between the two candidates on which parts of the ‘power structure’ they support and in turn are supported by, but there are a great deal of striking and crucial differences in the choices an Obama or a Romney makes, like differences between frigging night and day. You don’t get extra comment points for practicing ignorant (wet)blanket doom-ism.

      • Both candidates are parties to the power structure we all loath, however, with an Obama victory there is at least possibility — yes, even the much derided promise of “hope.”

        I don’t expect Obama himself to suddenly change his very centrist career/personality, however the contrast between the situation of an Obama second term with the grassroots moving ahead on a wide variety of fronts, as disorganized yet fertile grass roots will do, and just the possibility that or someone like them will succeed in getting serious popular movement for change and reform of the worst of the tendencies towards climate disaster, and the prospect of a Romney term — which in my opinion can only occur with serious vote suppression/fraud in the first place — leading to retrogressive environmental policies, entrenchment of conservative dominance of the state and federal judiciary branches, the high likelihood of neocon wars, and the certainty of an institutionalization of voter suppression and vote fraud, so non-Republicans can never win again, is indeed a very great contrast.

        Dear JT McP – the situation does bring forth analyses of the direst pessimism. However, for the sake both of one’s personal health and the health of positive cultures and subcultures, it is extremely important to maintain an attitude of optimism and constant calculation of how the situation might possibly be changed away from complete pessimism. If you expect only a few near-wolflike families to survive, you can’t realistically expect your family to be one of them. Combine that with your expectation of no chance of reform, then why not just end it all now?

        I’d like to be of service to those who look at the dire prospects for disaster, and take the wisdom of Kropotkin in seeing how positive social action offers the best chance for survival.

  2. It is weird, though, is it not, that one of the richest oil-producing countries in the world squanders resources developing nuclear power when their very own oil is so cheap & plentiful? What sense does that make?

    • Yeah. Canada never did make sense. All that oil and half the country is run on nukes.

      Well, here’s how it makes sense. We sell the oil. To the US. We’re rich and you not so much.

    • Actually, while Iran does have a lot of oil, it is also a large oil consumer. The US encouraged Iran to go nuclear back in the 1970s, when Iran’s population was about 30 million. Since then its population has tripled while its oil production has halved, and it now consumes about 40% of its oil domestically.

    • It’s not cheap and plentiful. Iran’s oil production has peaked. It’s mostly downhill from here. It’s Iran’s only meaningful export and the rest of the economy is in bad shape. So Iran should burn as little as possible to have more to export. Note that the Shah of Iran received a nuclear reactor from America’s “Atoms for Peace” program, while he plotted to massively increase the price of oil.

      Americans have a lot of misconceptions of how oil economics work. We should pray that those who have oil export as much of it as possible, yet they are rapidly increasing their own consumption.

    • Ask the players from the US Govt. who in the time of the Shah, lobbied for Iran to build a Nuclear Power Plant with the help of GE. It was only when a non-compliant regime took power that it suddenly became untenable for the Iranians to use nuclear generated electricity to power its grid while treating their oil as a valuable export commodity. Not so senseless after all.

      • It’s great to see the well-informed replies to KJ’s unintentionally ignorant question. That’s the kind of question asked and lack of knowledge held by the so-called “independent” voter, who doesn’t pay close enough attention to craft an informed thought but acts on his lack of knowledge with cross-eyed certainty and wishes all Americans could be as good a citizen as he is. Disgustingly vacuous people. Can they be required to ‘show their work’ before voting?

  3. Thank you! This is what I’ve been waiting for. It’s important for voters to understand that Mitt Romney is in deep with the people who want a war with Iran. I don’t think most people get it. If Iran does get nukes, it would just mean a situation of detente with Israel, which already has nukes. Also isn’t it amazing that Americans are so easily persuaded that Obama is a Muslim and/or socialist conspirator, when truly dangerous and traitorous conspirators like Feith and Cheney walk around freely? One thing I don’t grasp — why aren’t Ron Paul and his anti-war libertarians making a louder noise?? This is a crisis and lives are at stake. Can they really be satisfied with gutting the social safety net and moving to the gold standard? Have they forgotten, or completely failed to see that the only way to long term tax and debt reduction is through peace?

    • They haven’t forgotten about war. Their problem is that they make a reactionary appeal to a past when whites ruled supreme, both at home and abroad. That meant (a) no government at home to interfere with racist traditions, and (b) aggressive imperialism abroad against non-white nations lacking the technology to resist.

      Well, the libertarians may pretend part (b) didn’t exist, but the rednecks are still wired the same – and so are the capitalists that the Pauls tell us are the sole source of good in the world. Ron’s anti-war messages are simply ignored by cognitive dissonance, like the Pope’s.

  4. any roll call of warmongering Neocons from that dark era must include Steve Cambone.
    There are lots of others you could name, but Cambone is far and away the most influential who is not on your list.

    I read that story last night at WaPo, and found it unbelievable that anyone with more than a couple weeks in the Navy would think that even one flattop, let alone 2, could be sent anywhere without notifying numerous offices in DC, particularly the Navy Yard, several weeks in advance.
    There’s a lot of logistics and administration involved.
    a regional combatant commander has a lot of authority, but he cannot simply wish for fuel and subsistence to be brought out to the carrier strike force, and it magically happens.
    at any given time, there are usually only 6 or 7 carriers, max, available for deployment. in 2007, we only had 11. by the end of this year we’ll only have 10.
    these are the most important weapons systems in the navy. the CNO is briefed several times a day on the status of each one. NAVSEA has representatives stationed aboard each one.

    this is a sad story, but it exaggerates the central point.

    • Persian Gulf of Tonkin Incident

      Undoubtedly Secretary Robert Gates played a role. The press realease by Vice Admiral Kevin Cosgriff of NAVCENT/ 5th Fleet came just as President George W Bush was about to leave on a Middle East trip aimed in part at rallying Arab states to join the United States in an anti-Iran coalition. Robert M. Gates announced on April 24, 2008 the nomination of Rear Adm. William E. Gortney as the new commander for U.S. Naval Forces, Central Command and Commander, 5th Fleet. Coincidence? Cosgriff retired from the Navy in July 2008.

  5. Mr Cole,first of all, thank you for all of your columns. What the neocons did to this country and the world should result in them being prosecuted. Why hasn’t that happened?

  6. It’s interesting how many of the whistle-blowers appear to be women. Same thing happened with the events leading up to the big financial/real estate collapse of 2008.

    The boys in power might want to re-think their practice of keeping women out of the inner circles, treating them as outsiders. If these women had not been excluded, they might act to protect the group, rather than expose it.

  7. ” He certainly decided abruptly to bring two aircraft carriers to the Gulf … without telling the State Department or the White House.”

    A Vice Admiral can move, not one, but two aircraft carriers around the globe unbeknownst to the Executive Branch? And do so “abruptly” no less? In what Navy? Not our Navy.

    • You’re naive.

      Bush knew about the decision to abolish the Iraqi army, right? Not according to Bush.

      Bush knew about the decision to deploy thousands more US troops to Iraq, right? Not according to Bush.

      • That move by Bremer sure seemed focused on creating more chaos and violence in Iraq. Dear friend Peggy Gish who spent close to six years in Iraq before and after the invasion with the Christian Peace Maker team said many Iraqi people believe that the Bush administration wanted chaos, creating the environment for hatred between Sunnis and Shiites to explode. Too few troops, protect oil industry but not Iraq’s treasures, disband the Iraqi army. Feith and those Office of Special Plan folks seem to have another agenda up their sleeves and it was not a peaceful Iran. Bremer privatized the oil industry..I believe. Anyone watch Iraq for Sale, and NO End in Sight?

    • You’re naive.

      Bush knew about the decision to abolish the Iraqi army, right? Not according to Bush.

      Bush knew about the decision to deploy thousands more US troops to Iraq, right? Not according to Bush.

  8. A darker thought:

    The Neocons have been subtly instituting their agenda under President Obama and stuck Romney into the race as a sure loser.

  9. That move by Cheney was the move of a lunatic and the war criminal has never been held accountable for any of his crimes against humanity. No need to wonder why a whopping 9% of the American public have any faith in our Reps. Not one prosecution of the sub prime fraudsters either Attorney Eric (helped get Marc Rich off) Holder. What was up with Obama appointing that change we can believe in.

    Prof Cole have you pressed charges for these actions against you?

    Keep thinking about how former weapons inspector Scott Ritter went down. Clearly he was in the wrong but who went hunting for him?

    In that New York Bloody Times article “The experts said it might not be unlawful for the CIA to provide the White House with open service material-from public data bases or published material about an American citizen” This takes me back to Carl Cameron’s four part report on Fox News soon after 9/11 about private Israeli communication companies (Comverse Infosys and Amdocs) who he reported had access to 95% of American phone calls. That four part report was very interesting

    Prof Cole Rachel Maddow has had you on a few times but have not seen you anywhere else in the MSM. Been a long time since Rachel has had you on for your views. Think the White House kept MSM outlets from having you on like the Leveretts seem to be off limits guest on our MSM outlets.

  10. This is the same time that Admiral William “Fox” Fallon was Commander, US Central Command (covering the Middle East). Fallon would have been aware of Cosgriff’s activities in his area and would have helped to stymie them, I believe.

    wiki–In an Al-Jazeera broadcast on September 30, 2007, Admiral Fallon criticized those publicly urging war, stating “This constant drum beat of conflict is what strikes me which is not helpful and not useful. […] I expect that there will be no war and that is what we ought to be working for.”
    On March 11, 2008, he announced his resignation from CENTCOM and retirement from active duty, citing administrative complications caused in part by an article in Esquire Magazine, which described him as the only thing standing between the Bush Administration and war with Iran.

    • Don from this article it sounds like Fallon was going along with the more aggressive Neo con Iran plan and then covered his ass when this analyst spilled the beans

  11. If Cheney and the NeoCons wanted perpetual war, hasn’t Obama given them their desire?

    • Well, hard to say, Carl. Looks like Obama’s doing the minimum the MIC demands, whereas Romney, like Bush, is more a carte blanche chief exec. Still, to get elected you have to do at least the minimum, or else. Would you want to receive the ‘or else’ consequences? Be honest, if you’re able to.

  12. Many years of speculation led me to the idea a long time ago that at the top levels of the US government there are no Democrats or Republicans there are just blood sucking imperialists. What some of the commentators have said just reinforces that picture. It was not just a few Hawkish neocons that tried start a war with Iran. As has been accurately pointed out the things that were done could not be done without all of the top people in the military knowing about it. If the top people of the State Department did not know that is because the military people did not think they deserved to be told because as far as the top military people are concerned the State Dept. counts for nothing because the Secretary of State controls fewer military assets than the Pope.
    So if there was an attempt to goad Iran in to a war with the US it was a plan carried out not by a few Americans but by many.
    If there was not an attempt by the US government leaders to goad Iran in to a war it does not mean that those leaders are innocent. It just means that becuase of events going on elsewhere they did not think that the timing was optimal
    for such a war.

    • Dear Does Not Jell, you’re simply incorrect in saying that “many” Americans would’ve had to carry out the Iran-baiting. Only a few give the important orders in this world, my friend, and a much, much smaller number of people decide what those orders will be. The many carry out orders. The many don’t question orders, but that does NOT mean they perpetrated the Iran-baiting. I pray you can see the difference.

      If you can’t see the difference, then you might take a course in basic logic, preferably in a classroom, as opposed to online, where one may much too easily remain too unchallenged and therefore limited in thought.

  13. It’s a good thing Cheney didn’t get this bee in his bonnet until 2007. Bush had pretty much sidelined him by that point. He probably would have gotten his way two years earlier.

    • Cheney might’ve realized late that Iran won George W. Bush’s Iraq War and that he, Cheney, had little time left to unintentionally sabotage the United States further. Ergo the subterfuge Prof. Cole describes above.

      Norman Schwartzkopf eventually quit taking Cheney’s calls DURING the first Gulf War under Pappy Bush. Cheney kept badgering the general with idiotic battle plans (like Hitler peppered his generals in Russia especially with extravagant doomed-to-fail scenarios and attack plans that turned a stalemate situation into hell on earth for the Germans and eastern European divisions a thousand miles deep in Russia in time for winter).

      Finally, after one particular plan, sent by Cheney with hand-drawn cartoon-like maps and such, described dropping U.S. troops by parachute into the far western desert of Iraq where the Iraqi Army would’ve had the upper hand, with no American armored support or helicopter support either. Cheney, I guess all of his draft deferments went to his head, making him think he knew better than everyone else, including a military expert (perhaps brilliant) like Schwartzkopf.

  14. Truly frightening. The thought of these people anywhere close to the levers of power is enough to make me start drinking heavily.

  15. “In 1996, Israeli dual citizens Douglas Feith and Richard Perle were both advisors to Israel’s Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu. During that time, the duo co-authored a policy paper, entitled A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm.

    In it, they said that Saddam would have to be destroyed, and that Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Iran would all have to be overthrown or destabilized in order for Israel to be truly safe. Feith would later become the U.S. Under Secretary of Defense of Policy for the Bush administration.

    It was through Feith’s Office of Special Plans (OSP) that the Israelis channeled faulty intelligence about Saddam’s so-called “Weapons of Mass Destruction.” These lies led the U.S. Congress to enact the Iraq War Resolution of 2002, which gave George W. Bush carte blanche to wage a bloody conflict has since claimed the lives of over one million Iraqis and nearly 5,000 American troops.”

    link to

    One could easily conclude that ‘they’ have nearly achieved their objectives.

  16. It’s amazing how they didn’t learn from experience, by 2007 it was abundantly clear what a disaster both Iraq and Afghanistan were, yet they seriously wanted to start another war! Did Cheney and co. really think a third war, against an even bigger and better armed nation, would work better than the previous two?

    How anyone that stupid and mendacious could rise to such positions of power is unbelievable. That they’re not all in jail for treason and war crimes is a great concern.

  17. I admire her speaking out and finally leaking information to put an end to such a dastardly plot.

    I am not sure her career was ended when she leaked the information. Her career ended when she was set up in a company by Cabelly, her past lover and father of her child. She is a bright lady, from a privileged back her downfall was being attacked to powerful men.

    There are many who have been set up and attempts made to discredit them –

  18. At least this warmonger had the decency to deploy war machine to (Persian Gulf) and not the (oil gulf)

  19. The story is heavily biased, is stock full of political innuendo, conjecture, and relies almost entirely on anonymous sources.

    I have read enough stories from the media that I have learned to take such sources with a grain of salt.

    She took it upon herself to break confidentiality and tell a outside source.
    She should of quit, if she felt that strongly.

  20. The neocons and Likud clique will push harder for war with Iran. They feel they have neutralized Iraq, whatever the cost, Syria is almost in the bag, which means Hezbollah will be beggared. What’s tragically ironic is that the Israeli right grows more paranoid and hamfistedly brutal with each victory.

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