Former Naval officer exposes flaws in US intel on Iran oil tanker attack

Japanese government sources point finger of suspicion at US and Israel as Trump accelerates policy of ‘energy dominance’

Nafeez Ahmed
Jun 19, 2019 · 9 min read
Oil tanker burns in the Gulf of Oman after attack. Source: South China Morning Post

Published by INSURGE INTELLIGENCE, a crowdfunded investigative journalism project for people and planet.

The Trump administration has released a range of photographic and video evidence in support of its claim that intelligence proves how Iran attacked a Japanese-owned oil tanker near the Strait of Hormuz. But a Canadian military analyst and former Navy officer for nearly twenty years has called the evidence into question, highlighting unresolved anomalies in the US version of events. His reservations are backed by Japanese government sources.

A number of other states — the US, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Israel — as well as other jihadist groups and even a rogue hardline faction of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, have been flagged as potential culprits in the attacks that could pave the way for a wider war fitting into the Trump administration’s new plan for ‘American Energy Dominance’.

US intelligence: an incoherent story

“The evidence is far from conclusive.”

“… almost impossible to place a limpet mine once a ship is underway. Other boats cannot come close enough without being spotted, and swimmers (including scuba divers) cannot keep up.”

“So is security in Saudi and UAE ports so lax, even after the first attacks in May, that foreign agents can plant limpet mines on tankers before they sail?”

“Limpet mines are generally fitted with ‘anti-handling devices’ (i.e. they explode when you try to remove them), and yet everybody on that boat crowded onto the bow as if to get as close to the explosion as possible.”

Other potential state culprits?

“The leading candidates are Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the two Arab countries that are doing their best to push the United States into a war against Iran on their behalf. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu would also love to see the US attack Iran, but one doubts that Israel’s de facto Arab allies would want Israeli special forces operating on their territory.”

“These are not definite proof that it’s Iran. Even if it’s the United States that makes the assertion, we cannot simply say we believe it.”

“That would apply to the United States and Israel as well.”

John Bolton’s advanced warning of the attacks

Who wants a war?

“The subject was how to create a casus belli between Tehran and Washington.”

Eyewitnesses contradict alleged US intelligence

“The place where the projectile landed was significantly higher than the water level, so we are absolutely sure that this wasn’t a torpedo. I do not think there was a time bomb or an object attached to the side of the ship.”

Trump’s energy plan

Dr. Nafeez Ahmed is the founding editor of the 100% reader-funded investigative journalism project INSURGE intelligence. His latest book is Failing States, Collapsing Systems: BioPhysical Triggers of Political Violence (Springer, 2017). He is an 18-year investigative journalist, formerly of The Guardian where he reported on the geopolitics of social, economic and environmental crises. He now reports on ‘global system change’ for VICE’s Motherboard. He has bylines in The Times, Sunday Times, The Independent on Sunday, The Independent, The Scotsman, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, Quartz, New York Observer, The New Statesman, Prospect, Le Monde diplomatique, among other places. He has twice won the Project Censored Award for his investigative reporting; twice been featured in the Evening Standard’s top 1,000 list of most influential Londoners; and won the Naples Prize, Italy’s most prestigious literary award created by the President of the Republic. Nafeez is also a widely-published and cited interdisciplinary academic applying complex systems analysis to ecological and political violence. He is a Research Fellow at the Schumacher Institute.

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