A heckling radio ham known as the Filipino Monkey, who has spent years pestering ships in the Persian Gulf, is being blamed today for sparking a major diplomatic row after American warships almost attacked Iranian patrol boats.
The US navy came within seconds of firing at the Iranian speedboats in the Strait of Hormuz on January 6 after hearing threats that the boats were attacking and were about to explode.
Senior navy officials have admitted that the source of the threats, picked up in international waters, was a mystery.
[. . . .]
Last week, the Iranians and the US issued different video versions of what took place.
On the Pentagon's version, a strange voice, in English, can be heard saying "I am coming to you. You will explode in a few minutes." The voice sounds different from one heard earlier in the recording and there is no background noise that would usually be picked up from a speedboat radio.
In the Iranian version, there is no hint of aggressive behaviour.
The Pentagon said it recorded the film and the sound separately and then edited them together to give a "better idea of what is happening".
[...in other words, just as they were going on their "best intelligence" on Iraq leading up to the war, they got fooled into almost firing on Iranian boats. Leaving aside the possibility that the whole thing was completely fabricated (a la the Gulf of Tonkin) it is amazing when the excuse for this that is supposed to give us confidence in them is, "trust us; it's not our fault. We're just incompetent."]