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MI6's Power Arguments on Iran

"We foiled Iranian nuclear weapons bid"



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On July 13, 2012, the British Telegraph published remarks made by Sir John Sawers, head of the British Secret Intelligence Service, MI6. He spoke at the Civil Service Live event in Olympia, where 100 senior civil servants and journalists were present. The meeting was named “Unclassified chat: Sir John Sawers CMG” and was reported in Civil Service World, a publication dedicated to senior British officials. The article looked so much like the archetypal piece of disinformation that I almost dismissed it even before I had finished reading; it was just mental diarrhea. “The Iranians want to destroy the world,” was the central claim. Yet, one of the article’s messages was so extraordinary that it demanded comment; it disclosed unexpected similarities between Mother Teresa and Genghis Khan, at least while comparing them to the outrageous British claims.


MI6’s Logical Fallacies


MI6 Chief John Sawers

MI6 Chief "C" John Sawers

Finding logical fallacies is my favorite way of proving someone wrong. Destroying the rationale of a claim makes it unlikely it would be used again; thus, this is a very efficient method. “Reductio ad absurdum” is a great form of achieving that by proving that the analyzed claim contains contradictory statements. Yet, civil servants attempting to fool the electorate favor other logical fallacies. Such is the case with “Appeal to Authority,” (also known as “power argumentation”) a logical fallacy that occurs when a claim is justified on the authority of the person saying it: “This is true because I—the MI6 Chief—say so.” If the listeners accept the authority claim then everything can be sold to them. In this case, the listeners were government salary-men; success was assured. Most Western propaganda uses this technique.

MI6 has existed since 1909; yet, on only two occasions have its heads spoken publicly; on both occasions the feat was performed by John Sawers. The first time was in a 2010 interview; the second was the recent event reported by the Telegraph. At the latter, he mentioned actual operations performed by his organization; that is what made his entire speech suspicious. Its main claim was simplistic: he said that covert operations by British spies had prevented Iran from developing nuclear weapons as early as 2008, but that it was now likely they would achieve their goal by 2014.

“The Iranians are determinedly going down a path to master all aspects of nuclear weapons,” he said. “Without MI6’s work dealing with the threat, you’d have Iran as a nuclear weapons state in 2008 rather than still being two years away in 2012.” He also disclosed that MI6 has “run a series of operations to ensure that the sanctions introduced internationally are implemented, and that we do everything we can within the Middle East to slow down these remaining problems.”

He didn’t explain why a nuclear Iran is a threat to anybody. “I am Sir John Sawers, I am the honorable MI6 Chief, and thus you should trust my claims,” was his implied power argument. He also failed to explain why the rest of the world shouldn’t consider the USA and its allies a nuclear threat. After all, the only country in the world to have attacked children, women, and elders with nuclear weapons was the USA, Britain’s closest ally. Compared to the belligerent USA Administration, Genghis Khan was just an early prototype of Mother Teresa. Every child in the world has rightful reasons to fear the USA, while Iran has never attacked any other country. Israel—the other star in Sawers’ speech—has open, but unofficial, offensive nuclear capabilities. However, Sir John Sawers was not there to make sense, but to convey disinformation: the USA, the UK and Israel can be aggressive, and nobody has the right to take defensive steps. This is an unacceptable moral system. The senior civil servants listened openmouthed, flattered by the fact they had been invited to the rare event and applauded the imperial speech. Down in Hell, Queen Victoria experienced a rare moment of joy.


Savage Alliance of Savages


Sawers’ statements were interesting because they confirmed Western deceptions. Iran has accused Israel and the US of trying to disrupt its nuclear program through covert operations by Mossad, MI6 and the CIA. Several Iranian nuclear scientists were assassinated in recent years while a powerful computer virus known as Stuxnet attacked sensitive computer systems. Britain and America denied the allegations, but Israel remained silent. Now we know Iran was right.

Dishonorable and illegitimate behavior is the trademark of the SIS and its sister organizations across the world. During the American War on Terror, SIS accepted information from the CIA that was obtained through torture, including the extraordinary rendition program. Craig Murray—former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan—wrote several memos criticizing this behavior and was fired for them. I thought that only Nazis and Communists used censorship. However, democracy is absolute; also Western Democracies censor ruthlessly, while conducting wars on undemocratic, censoring regimes.

At first sight Mother Teresa and Genghis Khan are opposite figures. One is the impersonation of selfless charity and godly love, while the second is the ultimate warrior and founder of a violent empire. Yet, they have something in common. In their particular ways, they were persons of honor. They had a clear moral code, and adhered to it no matter what. You knew Mother Teresa would be compassionate to the end; it was pretty clear Genghis Khan would declare war on everybody upfront, without hiding, and in an honorable, soldierly fashion. You may despise each one of them for their code; you may not agree with being compassionate or belligerent, but their honesty must be cherished and admired. It is the basis for human society. On the other hand, the opposite is the double moral standard of Western Democracies. “We are democratic, thus we are right, and we can attack everybody in the world. Nobody has the right to defend himself.” Amen, Papa Obama. This is the epitome of power arguments; Western Democracies are nothing but a savage alliance of savages.

Bushehr Plant

Bushehr Plant | being deep underground; Israel cannot hit Iran’s nuclear facilities


“Chief,” with “C” of…


Until now, what John Sawers said was expected. Then he said: “I think it will be very tough for any prime minister of Israel or president of the United States to accept a nuclear-armed Iran… Israel or the United States would have to decide whether to launch a military strike.” This is a remarkable statement. What happened to the British bravado? Aren’t there any pirates left?

SIS MI6 Logo

SIS MI6 Logo

Head of the SIS since November 2009, Sir John Sawers is the first outsider to head SIS in more than 40 years. He came from the Diplomatic Service, having previously been the British Permanent Representative to the United Nations. Thus, he may need some explanations regarding certains aspects of his organization. The first head of this organization was Captain Sir George Mansfield Smith-Cumming. He became known as “C,” after his habit of initialing papers he had read with a C written in green ink. This habit became a custom for later directors, although the C now stands for "Chief;" this is hinted in the peculiar coloring of the organization’s logo. James Bond’s author—Ian Fleming—took this for his "M," Sir Miles Messervy, using Cumming’s other initial for the name and having M always written in green ink.

Very Honorable Sir John Sawers, Head of MI6, you direct a military organization. You claim to have offensive powers in parts of the world you shouldn’t be interfering with, at least not on military grounds. You claim that sabotaging Iranian enterprises is essential and that a war is practically unavoidable. Then, you send American and Israeli soldiers to die there for your business interests. This behavior has a very special and secret code in military jargon. It seems that your “C” signature stands not for “chief,” but for “coward.”

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