Friday, October 14, 2011

Continued: the Latest Bogus Terrorist Plot

Would Iran recruit a used car salesman with a memory problem to conduct assassinations in the US?

This is a question you have to ask yourself when evaluating the alleged Iranian "terrorist" plot supposedly uncovered by Attorney General Eric Holder the other day.


Longtime associate Tom Hosseini, a fellow Iranian-American who has known Arbabsiar for over 30 years, wondered aloud to a Washington Post reporter "how anyone – but most especially an elite military organization such as Iran’s Quds force — would get involved with Arbabsiar in the first place."

"Maybe," says Hosseini, "somebody offered him some money. He doesn’t have the brain to say no."

Arbabsiar certainly had a lot of money on him when he and Hosseini met in Iranian Kurdistan last August: the Post reports he was "waving around crisp $100 bills" and declaring that there was a lot more where that came from. Yet Arbabsiar’s many businesses – "from used cars to kebabs" – had all failed.


Either the Iranian Revolutionary Guards have lowered their standards considerably, or Arbabsiar wasn’t working for them, but for someone else. The question is: who are the real masterminds? Whoever they are, their intent was clear: this was a plot designed to be discovered.


Analysts often point, almost by default, to the option of attributing the alleged plot to a "rogue faction" of the Iranian government, but it’s just as likely – if not more likely – that this "rogue faction" is Israeli. It wouldn’t be the first time the Israelis have been strongly suspected of carrying out extensive covert activities in the US.

  Justin Raimondo

I think Israeli intelligence operations would be much more sophisticated, at least not using a hapless semi-idiot who failed in business and lived to party. No, this sounds much more like something US numbskulls, such as those neocons who scripted the war in Iraq, the Jessica Lynch “rescue” and the ridiculous screenplays that had to keep changing every time somebody outed them which were constantly being concocted for Bush, would come up with.

Or very simply, even the FBI. They have a history.

The Iranian modus operandi is only to trust sensitive plots to their own employees, or to trusted proxies such as Hezbollah, Saudi Hezbollah, Hamas, the Sadr faction in Iraq, Iran-friendly extremist Muslims in Afghanistan and other pro-Iranian Muslim groups.

Are we to believe that this Texas car seller was a Quds sleeper agent for many years resident in the U.S.? Ridiculous. They (the Iranian command system) never ever use such has-beens or loosely connected people for sensitive plots such as this.


There is simply no precedent — or even reasonable rationale — for Iran working any plot, no matter where located, through a non-Muslim proxy such as Mexican drug gangs. No one high up in the Quds, the I.R.G.C. command, the Supreme National Security Committee, or anywhere else in the Iranian chain of command would possibly trust that such a plot could be kept secret or carried out properly by the Mexican drug people. They absolutely would not trust such a thing to them, given Iran’s undoubted assumption that the Mexicans are penetrated by the D.E.A. and F.B.I. and A.T.F., etc — and indeed this plot was revealed by just such a U.S. informant.


Although Iran’s government has been tied to terrorist attacks and assassinations outside its borders in the past, it has been 31 years since it last dispatched an assassin to kill in the Washington area. In 1980, as The Lede explained in a previous post, Dawud Salahuddin, an American convert to Islam, accepted an assignment from Iran’s revolutionary government to shoot a former member of the Shah’s regime living in exile in Bethesda, Md.

  NY Times – The Lede

Salahuddin, by contrast to Arbabsiar:

Dawud Salahuddin was born David Theodore Belfield in Roanoke Rapids, NC [...]is an African-American convert to Islam most famous for his 1980 killing of Ali Akbar Tabatabai, an Iranian dissident and critic of Ayatollah Khomeini, and his exile in the Islamic Republic of Iran.


In 1963 he describes himself as having become politicized while watching news footage from Birmingham, Alabama, showing a police chief turn back civil-rights marchers with fire hoses and dogs, which caused him to develop "an implacable hatred toward all symbols of American authority."


He was heavily influenced by Said Ramadan, an Egyptian lawyer and Islamic scholar. As an "angry and alienated" African-American, "my biggest aspiration was to bring America to its knees, but I didn't know how."


In the thirty plus years as a fugitive he has worked as an English teacher, a war correspondent and a Web editor, fought the Soviets alongside the Afghan mujahedeen, and acted "in a film by one of Iran's leading directors in 2000." He is married to an Iranian woman, speaks Persian and works as a freelance writer. He denies receiving any direct payments from the Iranian government aside from the $5000 he received for killing Tabatabai.


But here’s the piece that throws me. Arbabsiar did not need money.

“He was just not organized,” said David Tomscha, who once owned a car lot with Arbabsiar. “He would lose the titles to cars. Or he’d say it was a 1989 Grand Marquis when it was an ’82. And when you’d call him on it, he’d say, ‘What’s the difference?’ Eventually, I bought him out.”

There is a certain bewilderment in Corpus Christi that anyone as apparently hapless as Arbabsiar could get involved in an international conspiracy.

“A goofy guy who always had a smile on his face,” said Mitchel Hamauei, also a store owner. “Let me put it this way: He’s no mastermind.”

Arbabsiar is originally from the city of Kermanshah, near the Iranian border with Iraq. He continued to have substantial property holdings in Kermanshah, which Hosseini said were worth about $2 million and which provided Arbabsiar with a steady income. He also has a brother and sister in Iran.


So what was he offered that made him commit an act destined to get him caught? Maybe he was just too brain-addled, and together with his personal troubles, failures and addictions, he didn’t have the sense “to say no,” as someone said.

One Iranian American businessman said he had long believed that Arbabsiar’s persistent forgetfulness was related to an attack he survived relatively shortly after he arrived in the United States. He was stabbed repeatedly and nearly died when attacked in Houston in 1983.


Hosseini said that Arbabsiar attended, off and on, what was then Texas A&I University between 1979 and 1983 but flunked out and that he eventually graduated from Southern College in Louisiana.


Shortly after his arrival in the United States, friends started to call Arbabsiar “Jack” because of his taste for Jack Daniel’s whiskey, Hosseini said. And as recently as last year, Arbabsiar was arrested for felony possession of a narcotic.


In January 2010, a home owned by Arbabsiar in Corpus Christi went into foreclosure, and it was auctioned off later that year. He and his wife separated.

About the same time, Arbabsiar decided that his life in the United States was over, and he told friends that he was moving back to Iran permanently.

Not now.

At any rate, he is definitely more of the quality of patsy the FBI has trappedand “caught” in the past than someone Iran’s government would put to work.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

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