Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Plot Sickens

In a plot described by [FBI Director Robert] Mueller as something from the "pages of a Hollywood script" and by Gawker's John Cook as "a scenario that sounds like a right-wing fever dream," the feds say [Manssor] Arbabsiar, a used car salesman, plotted with high-ranking Iranian military officials to have a member of a Mexican drug cartel kill the Saudi Arabian ambassador.


It sounds like both those things, because that’s undoubtedly what it is. DC, with its many agencies, has long been the world’s Hollywood in terms of scripting events, and long been a right-wing enclave.

"The complaint alleges that this conspiracy was conceived, sponsored and directed from Iran and constitutes a flagrant violation of U.S. and international law, including a convention that explicitly protects diplomats from being harmed," Holder told reporters.

And flagrant violation of international law is one thing this administration won’t stand for.

Holder clarified at the press conference that the complaint did not charge that Iranian government leadership knew of or signed off on the attack.


… pledging that the U.S. "is committed to holding Iran accountable for its actions."

So which is it? Holder’s in a delicate position here. Although this can be made into a big deal and help to take the focus off the accusations that he either allowed or was ignorant of an FBI anti-gun running deal in Mexico that turned out to actually be a gun-running deal, the juggling of claims – Iranian leaders are responsible, but they didn’t know, or didn’t “sign off” on it – is so close to the claims in his own situation as to perhaps underscore it rather than take the heat off. Seems to me he’s taking a pretty big gamble. Or he would be if the US corporate press were a free press and US citizens paid any attention at all to what was being done versus what is being said.

After [used car salesman, Texas-based Iranian-American Manssor “Jack” Arbabsiar] allegedly met with a man he thought was affiliated with a Mexican drug cartel (but was, as it turned out, a DEA informant), he allegedly met with [Gholam Shakuri, who was described in court documents as a deputy to Iranian Official #1 (Abdul-Reza Shahlai)] and a third individual described in court documents as "Iranian Official #2" but identified as Quds [a unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards] official Halem Abdollahi.

First, the script calls for a villain, it is the role of the DEA in this case to nurture one.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, for one, is taking the whole thing pretty seriously, telling the Associated Press that the plot "crosses a line" and could persuade even reluctant nations to line up against Tehran.

Only if they’re a party to the script or dependent upon American monetary aid.

"The idea that they would attempt to go to a Mexican drug cartel to solicit murder-for-hire to kill the Saudi ambassador? Nobody could make that up, right?" Clinton told the AP.

AP: Right!

We desperately need better writers.


The US announced new economic sanctions against five Iranians, including four senior members of the Quds force, the special operations unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, which US officials have implicated in the alleged plot.

Heavy sanctions were already in place but the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, said a "very strong message" needed to be sent to the Iranian regime. She said she would discuss with allies in Europe and elsewhere how further to isolate Iran.


[The] state department issued a worldwide alert about the supposed threat posed by Tehran to US citizens.

It said: "The US government assesses that this Iranian-backed plan to assassinate the Saudi ambassador may indicate a more aggressive focus by the Iranian government on terrorist activity against diplomats from certain countries, to include possible attacks in the United States."


The Saudi embassy in Washington described the alleged attempt to assassinate Jubeir as "despicable". Barack Obama called the ambassador on Tuesday to express solidarity between the US and Saudi Arabia in the face of "a flagrant violation of US and international law". The UK prime minister, David Cameron, added his voice to the condemnation: "Indications that this plot was directed by elements of the Iranian regime are shocking," said a statement from his office. "We will support measures to hold Iran accountable for its actions."


Incredulity among US officials was shared by observers, some of whom went further and suggested the plot was so far-fetched as to be unbelievable. Robert Baer, a former CIA agent, told the Guardian: "This stinks to holy hell. The Quds force are very good. They don't sit down with people they don't know and make a plot. They use proxies and they are professional about it. This is totally uncharacteristic of them."

UK Guardian

Iran has vigorously rejected US allegations that it had backed a plot to kill the Saudi ambassador, with a senior official describing them as a "childish, amateur game".


"These claims are vulgar. We believe that our neighbours in the region are very well aware that America is using this story to ruin our relationship with Saudi Arabia."


Saudi-Iranian tensions have increased since March, when Saudi Arabia, which sees itself as the bastion of Sunni Islam, sent troops to help Bahrain's Sunni rulers quell pro-democracy protesters led by the island's Shia majority.

Bahrain accuses Iran of being behind the unrest, a charge denied by Tehran and by Bahraini Shia political parties.


The narrative reads like a formulaic melodrama: two Iranians, one a naturalized US citizen, purportedly approached someone they thought was a member of a Mexican drug cartel – according to the indictment, it was a “sophisticated” drug cartel, not the plebeian sort – and proposed paying him $1.5 million to murder Adel al Jubeir, the Kingdom’s ambassador in Washington – oh, and by the way, the Iranians supposedly said, “Are you guys any good with explosives?”

The key to understanding just how fake this story is can be found in the New York Times report, which informs us:

“For the entire operation, the government’s confidential sources were monitored and guided by federal law enforcement agents, Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District, said in the news conference. ‘So no explosives were actually ever placed anywhere,’ he said, ‘and no one was actually ever in any danger.’”
Translation: the whole thing is phony from beginning to end.

This is another one of US law enforcement’s manufactured “anti-terrorist” triumphs, where the feds set somebody up, fabricate a “crime” out of thin air, and then proceed to “solve” a case that never really existed to begin with. This has been the general pattern of our “anti-terrorist” operations in the US since the beginning [...] Instead of going out and actually, you know, looking for the Bad Guys, and then apprehending them, they lure some unsuspecting Muslim immigrant into a trap, and spring it when the time is right.

Justin Raimondo

Well, we are putting a lot of money into “Homeland security;” we have to have something show for it.

The long narrative spun by the indictment tells us everything but what we really need to know, which is: how is it that these two Iranian “terrorists” just happened to meet up with a Mexican drug cartel assassin who just happened to be a longtime DEA informant?


Let’s say the Iranians really were plotting to kill the Saudi ambassador on American soil: would they contract it out to the Mexican Mafia, send all kinds of traceable money wires from Iran to the US, and not care if they killed a hundred Americans in the process of achieving their goal? Or would they send some fanatic, who would not only do it for free but also eliminate himself (or herself)? This flimsy cock-eyed tale is so transparently fake that it’s an embarrassment to the United States of America. Can’t our spooks do better than this?

Hey, times are tough. Desperate times – desperate measures, you know. Besides, they don’t have to do better than this. This works. Why waste energy, talent and money where you don’t need it?

That this story involves the Mexican drug cartels, and Attorney General Eric Holder proclaiming that we’re going to “hold the Iranian government accountable,” has got to be some kind of sick joke: after all, here is a man who stood by and watched while US law enforcement agents let guns travel over the US border to arm those very same cartels. Is this “coup” for the Justice Department the pay-off for that harebrained scheme – and when is Holder going to be held accountable?

When Hell freezes over. Or the end of the world, which may be right around the corner courtesy of harebrained schemes like this one.

That our government would float a narrative like this without any apparent regard for the basic rules of fiction-writing – create believable characters who do believable things – is Washington’s way of showing contempt for the Iranians, the American people, and anyone else who stands in the way of their war agenda.

As I said, this works. Americans watch too many “action” movies, and that’s the way we think. When was the last time you saw an action movie with believable characters doing believable things?

They don’t care if it’s not believable. They think Americans will swallow anything.

They don’t think that. They know it.

By preparing the country for war with Iran, Obama will not only defang the GOP, but also appease the all-important Israel lobby, which has been beating the war drums for years.

Yes, well, it is campaign season.

This story is very scary – not because it’s credible, or believable, because it is neither. However, it’s the most frightening story I’ve heard in quite a while because it shows that the US government is bound and determined to go to war with Iran, no matter what the consequences.

Scarier than any “terrorist plot,” real or scripted.

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