Wagging the Dog with Iran’s Maxwell Smart

I personally do not understand how the corporate media in the US can report the following things about Manssor Arbabsiar and then go on to repeat with a straight face the US government charges that he was part of a high-level Iranian government assassination plot.

It seems pretty obvious that Arbabsiar is very possibly clinically insane.

Here are the top 10 reasons that he cannot be Iran’s answer to 007:

10. Arbabsiar was known in Corpus Christi, Texas, “for being almost comically absent-minded”

9. Possibly as a result of a knife attack in 1982, he suffered from bad short-term memory

8. He was always losing his cell phone

7. He was always misplacing his keys

6. He was always forgetting his briefcase and documents in stores

5. He “was just not organized,” a former business partner remarked

4. As part owner of a used car dealership, he was always losing title deeds to the vehicles

3. Arbabsiar, far from a fundamentalist Shiite Muslim, may have been an alcoholic; his nickname is “Jack” because of his fondness for Jack Daniels whiskey

2. Arbabsiar used to not only drink to excess, but also used pot and went with prostitutes. He once talked loudly in a restaurant about going back to Iran, where he could have an Iranian girl for only $50. He was rude and was thrown out of some establishments.

1. All of his businesses failed one after another

The downward trajectory of Arbabsiar’s life, with his recent loss of his mortgage, all his businesses, and his second wife, along with his obvious cognitive defect, suggests to me that he may have been descending into madness.

I hypothesized yesterday that Arbabsiar and his cousin Gholam Shakuri might have been part of an Iranian drug gang. But after these details have emerged about the former, I don’t think he could even have done that. Indeed, I have now come to view the entire story as a fantasy.

That a monumental screw-up like Arbabsiar could have thought he was a government secret agent is perfectly plausible. I’m sure he thought all kinds of things. But that he was actually one is simply not believable.

OK, Qasim Soleimani, the head of the Qods Brigade special operation forces of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, may not be a nice man. But he is such a competent man that US officials in Iraq widely believed that he repeatedly outmaneuvered and defeated them there.

The allegation that Soleimani was running a hard-drinking incompetent with no memory and no sense of organization like Arbabsiar on the most delicate and dangerous terrorist mission ever attempted by the Islamic Republic of Iran is falling down funny.

Moreover, there is every reason to think, as Jeffrey Toobin suggests is a possibility, that Arbab was entrapped into this plan by a criminal drug runner in the pay of the US government, who suggested most of the key details to Arbabsiar in the first place. If the latter was as mentally disturbed as the WaPo report makes him sound, he may have been particularly suggestible and therefore an excellent subject for entrapment.

There is no connection to Iran here. Arbabsiar had $100,000 wired from a third country to what he thought was the Mexican drug gangster’s account. The money did not come directly from Iran. Even if it originated there, there is no reason to think it was government funds. Arbabsiar was himself worth $2 million in Iran; for all we know, as he got lost in his fantasy land, he began being willing to spend his Kermanshah inheritance on the crazy scheme.

The DOJ complaint says that Arbabsiar boasted that his cousin (Gholam Shakuri) was a “general” in Iran but did plainsclothes work abroad and “had been on CNN.”

Since two out of three of these allegations are obvious falsehoods, why should we believe anything else Arbabsiar said about his cousin? Note that it is the speculation of the DOJ that Arbabsiar’s description of his cousin suggests that Shakuri is a member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps. He is not so identified by Arbabsiar, who simply says he is a general who travels in civilian clothes. There is no such general.

Since Arbabsiar clearly does not have a firm grasp on reality, to indict the IRGC with these rambling and preposterous claims would be highly unwise.

I am frankly shocked that Eric Holder should have brought us this steaming crock, which is now being used to make policy at the highest levels. That a Mexican former drug runner being paid by the US taxpayers might have thought he could advance his career by playing mind games with a somewhat crazy Iranian expatriate is no surprise. That you could put fantastic schemes in Arbabsiar’s mind if you worked at it seems obvious. That anyone in the DOJ or the US foreign policy establishment would take all this seriously is not plausible. I conclude that they are being dishonest, and that this is Obama’s turn to wag the dog as he faces defeat at Romney’s well-manicured hands next year this time.

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Russian translation here

95 Responses

  1. I assume you’ve seen the Tehran Bureau article which also found the allegations incredible – link to n4rky.me

    I think we need to worry. Iran’s allegation that this is a distraction from domestic problems may not be quite right. But I am definitely wondering just what it is a pretext for.

    • David, thanks for the Frontline link, I always enjoy reading Muhammad Sahini, his thoughts back up Juan’s thinking 100%.

      As always thanks to Juan

  2. How is someone living a nation that ends up being attacked so that an American politician afraid of looking weak can improve his chances of re-election expected to view Western democracy?

    • With all the Al Queda takedowns under his belt does he really need to look tough?

  3. Juan, while I agree that this alleged assassination plot seems far fetched, there is an aspect of the criminal complaint against Arbabsiar that argues against the alleged plot being a delusional fantasy, and that is the alleged telephone conversations that Arbabsiar had with Shakuri after his arrest.

  4. The moment this story broke, from the smell of it, I immediately thought “they’ve entrapped some nutty walter-mitty character.” I find it frightening that this posturing low-rent criminal and delusional wackaloon might have provided President Perry with his Gulf of Tonkin incident, his rationale for getting us into our third simultaneous war.

    • Agree, but is it Perry’s treat or is the conservative foreign affairs doctrine of Hillary-Obama (never mind his nonsense about negotiating with enemies, whether Iranian or Republican). Recall that they each stated publicly during the Egyptian uprising that Mubarek’s choice of veep should be preferred and respected. Right. We, who uphold democracy and nourish it everywhere…

      Frankly, I am led to seriously wonder whether there is a current plan hatching where Israel attacks and we have a pretext for backing her up. There is no love lost between Hillary and Iran. And, frankly, what with the severe crackdowns, I have to admit the regime is terrible beyond terrible. But a pretext for blatant retaliation on such whimsical evidence? This is almost scary. This almost makes one wonder whether the 9/11 attacks were likewise (I don’t personally believe so, but good lord, after this new revelation, who can tell?).

      • My thoughts exactly. This “plot” sounds like our government gone wild, again, to entrap a pitiful loser of Iranian background. But why?

        Israel attacks, US citizens are enthusiastic because of this “incident”, Barack et. all. rake in the big bucks from super-rich and influential Israel-always supporters. With their enthusiastic support (and they NEVER have enough) can he possibly be re-elected?

  5. Really makes you wonder what the foreign intelligence agencies of our allies are thinking of us, Juan. They’re all scrutinizing this, as well, and are quite possibly coming up with a similar if not same conclusion.

    At first I considered this matter for having a Zimmermman Telegram like effect.

    Now I think the nature of this is more in line with the Gleiwitz incident.

  6. From an amateur observer–SOMEBODY SOMEWHERE has done SOMETHING harebrained. Eventually we’ll find out who it was/is.

  7. I feel a musical coming on, or perhaps a sit-com. “The Not-quite-good-enough terrorists.”

    Theme song: “Springtime for Ahmed”

  8. Well, it looks like the Obama admnistration might have its own version of Curveball. Call him Screwball?

    God, I hope Obama isn’t facing defeat by the Romneybot. We don’t need the ship of state to sink any lower, which it would if Obama’s out after one.

  9. What David asks above in the first comment is a good question. The pretext may simply be to help continue the 50-year imperial fantasist western oil jihad against that part of the world’s remaining ‘poor sport’ who goes against Roman will (did I say Roman, oops?). Or maybe it has more to do with something in the DNA of the western branch of the human species that keeps pouring out of its enclaves and citadels in order to overrun that part of the world for whatever pretext is handy (the Scythians disrespect us? That Saracen pisses us off? Next year, Jerusalem? Oil!?). But maybe the reason for the pretext is more tied in with the exit of the U.S. from Iraq, especially if we’re going to have a sitting-duck force of 5,000 ‘trainers’ instead of a slightly less sitting-duck force of a 20-30,000 residual strike force. Maybe U.S. military planners are being aggressive with this Screwball case in order to help set the stage for more aggressive talk and latent threatening of Iran to forestall further Iranian encroachment in Iraq, at least for the time being. We’ll go grrrr, and they’ll go eeek? Fat chance, however. But it’s classic imperial political behavior. Those Poles sure provoked Hitler, you know (tongue in cheek).

    • You might be on to something there. As I recall, earlier this week Iraq made a take it or leave it offer of allowing only a few thousand “trainers” remaining in Iraq or else all US troops could leave. Maybe this is O pressuring Iraq to accept more US troops remaining in Iraq.

  10. Just how many lies does the government think it can get away with? Just how many lies does the main stream media and the professioinal pundits think they can get away with?

    A few years ago the economist Paul Krugman noted that the USA was looking more like the banana republics he studied a few decades ago. We are getting closer to that goal which is rule by the oligarchs and the riches to the 1%. This is why the Occupy Wall Street protests are better off without specific demands which can be inserted into the political calculus of democrats vs. republicans, or other main stream groups because they are corrupt.

    Lets hope that the grass roots movements in the USA can help to surface the lying at the heart of the government and the cover ups by the security state of their incompetence.

  11. “But I am definitely wondering just what it is a pretext for.”

    UK about to close down Presstv on the SKY Platform. (also re: wikileaks UK & US seeking to close down PressTV)

  12. You are spot on!

    To all of those who suggested that they won’t fall for another WMD-yellow-cake-Niger story, including all the mainstream media…Here you go again! Incidentally, the same folks that fell for the WMD story bought the Kuwaiti Ambassador’s daughter playing “Nurse-in-Kuwait” in front of Congress.

    If I may speculate….

    Having run the sanctions course and calculating the low odds of adding another round of sanctions at the UNSC against Iran, because of Chinese and Russian reluctance, the US+EU needed a way to ratchet up the pressure.

    The US+EU has already primed the pump at the IAEA for further spectacular fantasy in November.

    While the story about a Texan 007 is eroding, the story of IAEA will take over. The combined impact, the US hopes, will generate the needed momentum for additional pressure.

    It matters little that in six months or a year these fantasies will not pan out. What matters is that a “reality” will be created in order to justify aggressive and disastrous policies.

  13. No question the neocons will get their war with Iran. This is just laying the same faulty ground work as Curveball did with WMD’s in Iraq. It’s like watching a train about to collide and there’s nothing you can do.

    Sorry to see the Obama administration is so anxious to push this kind of neocon smear. I expected it from Netanyahu’s moll Hillary Clinton, but Obama and Biden surprise me.

    Glen Greenwald over at Salon has comments on this keystone cop bogus intelligence scam.

    • Sorry to see the Obama administration is so anxious to push this kind of neocon smear. I expected it from Netanyahu’s moll Hillary Clinton, but Obama and Biden surprise me.
      Have you been paying attention lately???

  14. It never fails to amaze me; the things that our high government officials can stand at a microphone as say witn a perfectly straight face.

    Including giving as a purpose of the war in Afghanistan, “We are denying them space in which to plan their attacks,” which is at least delivered in good grammar.

  15. It was obvious to me from the very first glimpse of the headline that this was total BS. Nevrtheless, it’s even more absurd than I imagined. The sheer incompetence of the USG and the US media never ceases to amaze.

    • “Cover” so deep he gets a self-inflicted brain trauma that seriously hinders his abilities as an intelligence agent?

      Lemme guess: You thought “Red Dawn” was a documentary, right?

  16. Outstanding article and theory! I’d like to propose that there may be other reasons behind this guy being set up as a “patsy”. I also tend to think the same forces behind the drive to invade Iran in 2004 are attempting to make another effort here. The worst people in government are not those who serve 4-8 years and leave, it’s those who are there for life.

  17. @David – ‘But I am definitely wondering just what it is a pretext for’

    How about a distraction from the ‘Fast and Furious’ scandal involving / incriminating the DOJ? Provided this lame story works, it would then ‘kill two birds (Iran and Mexican drug cartel) with one stone’ and make the DOJ come out looking like the winner / hero.

    • How about as a distraction form the ‘Palestinian State’ which seems to be scaring the begeevers out of both the US and Israel ….and when military states get worried they do the only thing they know how – go to war.

    • Juan – Help, help! W.h.a.t. i.s. i.t. a p.r.e.t.e.x.t. f.o.r. I’ve looked all over the internet and nobody talking about that part.

  18. The conspiracy theorist in me fears that the entrappers of the Arbabsiars of this world have been shown up to be . . . Arbabsiars of this world! — with an eye to embarrassing the US intelligence behemoth irreparably.

  19. The timing of the original announcement went hand in hand with the announcement of the new free trade agreements, so I figure the Iranian “plot” served as a convenient distraction to minimize discussion about the trade agreements, which help the top 1% but do little for the remaining 99% of the US.

  20. There’s no-one in the UK currently with the necessary sales skills to get this one past us. If you’re really serious, you’ll need the exceptional talent of a Tony Blair.

    • As I recall, last time it was the Americans who fawned at the feet of the exceptional bLiar. Few British people believed anything the great charlatan said – including members of his own party; not even the Nasty Party, but they were so infatuated with the Bush cabal, they had to pretend to believe in bLiar’s fables.

      Don’t worry though, if Obama’s up for it, Cameron won’t be able to help himself, with or without Fox & Werrity.

  21. Is the country really dumb enough to give control to a slick talking Republican, and a Mormon at that? These Tea Party Christian Reconstructionists and their fundamentalist ilk don’t hold Mormons in much higher regard than the blacks and their “negro” President. There’s no base for him there. How any rational democrat could vote for ANY Republican (regardless of their religion) is a mystery to me. I know Obie’s sold us out on nearly every front except support for the gays, but we don’t have to imagine the alternative might be worse, we know it would be. Far from sobering up after running the country into the ditch, the Republicans have pulled themselves directly out of the ditch and back to their bar stools. Do not be foolish enough to hand back to any one of them the keys.

    Enjoy.

  22. Why would Obama need a story like this to “wag the dog?” Look at all of the strikes against al Qaeda. He’s got all the FP dog-wagging he needs already.

    • I don’t think he does. I think his handlers believe he needs a nice little war to make sure he gets reelected, and no sane person with any knowledge of the state and size of the U.S. military thinks a war with Iran would be “nice” or “littl.” I’ve thought for a long time he’s going to start a war with Iran in March or April of next year. Maybe he’ll just give permission to Israel to bomb what they will call nuclear facilities. This seems right on schedule to me, preparing the U.S. public. Look for a continuous drumbeat from Fox (Ailes would be delighted to see more war in the Middle East).

      • The objective political situation would seem to argue against this theory.

        Nobody cares about foreign policy – “It’s the economy, stupid.”

        Obama already has a “nice little war” going – the one against al Qaeda.

        I’ve thought for a long time he’s going to start a war with Iran in March or April of next year.

        People have been assuring me that an attack on Iran in right around the corner for years now, and they’ve been wrong every single time.

        Internet leftists : attack on Iran :: Austrian-school economists : runaway inflation.

  23. Thanks for the clear & concise evaluation of this latest effort to subvert Iran’s economy. I heard a clip of Mr Carney almost gleefully referring to the now likely increasing sanctions on Iran as being able to further destroy another sovereign’s domestic well-being.

    My first reaction to this “breaking story” was here we go again with another Re-election War. And before our very eyes Ms. Clinton is morphing into Condoleezza. This is a desperate effort to contain Iran as we pull out of Iraq.

    • “Contain” ???? – they don’t want to contain Iran they want to use Iran as a replacement for Iraq ….I mean do you really think the government wants a whole load of angry and unemployed soldiers wandering the streets??

  24. This sounds much more like an elaborate and professional Mossad set-up than an Iranian plot. Cui Bono? (What POSSIBLE good interest of Iran would be served by a bomb assassination of the Saudi ambassador in DC? Whose interests would be advanced? Who propagates for war with Iran?) But that point aside…

    According to Rasool Nafisi, an Iranian-American scholar who studies the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, rogue elements of the Revolutionary Guards Quds force conceivably might have concocted the plot without top-level approval, perhaps to prevent rapprochement between Iran and the U.S.

    So why play into their hands and let them succeed even though the plot itself failed? The absolute last thing this country needs is to be played into a new and most catastrophic war with Iran. We love to invoke international law when it serves our purposes, and totally ignore it when it suits us.

    Where was international law when we overthrew the Iranian democracy in 1953 via CIA operation Ajax? (from which devolves all our problems with Iran)

    Where was international law when we supported Saddam’s eight-year war with Iran, including the use of chemical weapons, and Rumsfield went to Iraq to shake his hand?

    Where was international law when in 1988 a US cruiser shot down an Iranian Airbus in the Persian Gulf, in Iranian national waters, killing 290 civilians?

    The absolute last thing we need is another catastrophic war with Iran. Sure, we can blast them and create vast chaos, but chaos is one enemy no amount of bombing can cure. How does the slamming shut of the Straights of Hormuz sound to you, through which passes about half of all the petroleum exports of the whole world? Small boat actions and various missile strikes could do that very easily.

    I argue we should not let the Quds force succeed (if they were not being set-up that is) even though their plot failed. Sounds reasonable to me.

  25. Since the failure to prevent 9/11 ten years ago, the FBI’s principal antiterrorism strategy seems to be to entrap deluded young halfwits into grandiose aspirational schemes, arrest them, and then trumpet the arrest to a credulous American press as a great antiterrorism coup.

  26. re: larry piltz: “The pretext may simply be to help continue the 50-year imperial fantasist western oil jihad against that part of the world’s remaining ‘poor sport’ who goes against Roman will (did I say Roman, oops?).”

    given u.s. history, your cynicism is understandable. clearly, this is out of step with iran’s M.O. not that they wouldn’t try their hand at assassination – they’ve taken out hits on targets but used 3rd parties. the alleged link-up with the mexican cartel is bizarre. and the supposed choice of a middleman with a laundry list of question marks is even more bizarre. but since all of the evidence has yet to be made available in the public domain, i’m reserving judgment. iran is run by a nasty regime and it’s unclear whether this was a renegade group or part of the command structure. let’s see how this plays out before jumping to conclusions

    • Reserving judgment is a valid way to approach any pronouncement by any person or government. However, because nearly every bit of information that the U.S. has pronounced about Iran during its entire history of relations with Iran has been either an outright provable lie or outright provable cynical exaggeration, I think the two stupidest things to do would be to either a) believe the pronouncement or b) reserve judgment on it.

      Reserving judgment in this case amounts to putting your brain on hold while the lie/exaggeration takes hold and gives it time to work its way into the American lizard brain, which will make it that much easier to give carte blanche to the neo-con attack strategy. Reserving judgment in this kind of case is remaining silent while you know a murder is being planned.

      • Mr. Piltz, that is without a doubt the finest summation of this situation that I have as yet heard or read. Bless you for your clarity of thought.

        These machinations have been going on throughout human history. What a joy it would be for these machinists to suddenly go Galt.

  27. Even Hollywood would laugh at this story. Romney’s top foreign policy advisors are salivating at the prospect of waging war against Iran and so are some members of the Obama administration as well. Its a madhouse.

  28. I do not believe that this sloppy operation was an Iranian plot. However, none of those 10 reasons are enough to win even the weakest of debates on this issue. Please tell me there are 10 better reasons other than he FORGOT HIS KEYS and he drinks. That’s all I got to go on… great, here comes another war.

  29. Americans like to forget history & where they came from & how we all got to where we are in the world today. Iran has a multi-thousand history, its current phase will pass irrespective of ‘the current regime, all the kings horses & men”, israeli paranoia, its own nuclear weaponry, corrupted US politicians, etc.. War with Iraq & Afghanistan was even more insane than war with Korea & Vietnam. The US political establishment has not, does not, nor will never understand Asia. Digging ourselves deeper & deeper while supply lines break the budget & stretch increasingly far from home … a good read on this: West, Levine, Hinz link to amazon.com
    also Chalmers Johnson, who was the Asian Librarian when i was a student at Berkeley, & coined the term ‘Pacific Rim’

  30. The idea that this might be a pretext for any attack on Iranstruck me as far-fetched (as if that were a valid criterion) because the U.S. military is already overstretched and broken. But a diversion from the Fast and Furious scandal strikes me as just on the right scale.

  31. Me any many other Iranian that hate current regime in Iran , always thought that USA leading by some expert and clever ruler but with this type of funny story that they are making it shows our idea was as an dream just. Arbab-sayar story even can not be good senario for a low level Bollywood (Not even Hollywood ! ) movie .

    Sorry as my English is not perfect.
    God bless American poeple and safe my lovely country IRAN.

  32. Projessor Cole, with regard to Mr. Arababsiar’s psychiatric condition, may I suggest he is not clinically insane, but rather has to some degree a bi-polar or other schizoaffective disorder. I am no expert, but do know several people with this disability. Left untreated it can be devestating. The symptoms you list and his attempts at self medication are almost identical with clinical diagnoses of such. If only we could treat people with psychiatric disabilities to the same degree as we do with physical illness, our world would be a much more peaceful place. Perhaps if the DOJ folks were a little more tuned into this they would not get so wrapped around the flag pole.

  33. Please, not ANOTHER war! Washington seems to be infatuated with war. I don’t get it.

    • They like war because they love money. War makes a whole lot of money for GE, Lockheed martin, halliburton and the rest of those scum. They use a bit of profits to buy politicians who tell us whose country will be destroyed next. Many americans seem to have no problem with endless war & torture against defenseless civilians, so what’s not to get?

  34. I have a feeling that someone in Obama administration has come up with a new Plan against Iran. They want to resurrect a new Saddam to supposedly offset their perception of growing Iranian power. The new Saddam is going to be the Saudi and Gulf countries. They have the money but not the personel… solution lets go high tech. Lets arm them to the teeth with all sort of weapons of conventional and non conventional form. Just a few weeks before this US announces sale of Bunker Buster bombs to Bahrain and probably Saudi Arabia has had its delivery too. It seems that Obama administration is trying to “correct” or undo the apparent mistake of removing Saddam.

    • Iranian power isn’t growing and the Obama administration doesn’t think it to be.

      The Saudis aren’t being encouraged by the US to arm…They’re arming because they see the US as insufficiently confrontational toward Iran.

      The GCC countries are the ones most threatened by the Iranian nuclear weapons program and the Saudis are going to be ramping up their program to push against Iran, it’s ally Assad and the Iranian proxy in Lebanon. The Saudis are enlisting Turkey and upset that Israel is too crazy to to make some kind of deal with the PA, because then the Saudis would have some cover to work with the israelis against the Iranian expansionist theocracy.

  35. Sorry, but I’m unable to make a contribution at this time. Is this the reason why I was unsucessful when I attempted to share this story on facebook? What you’re reporting needs to be read – before Hilary pushes the president into another war.

  36. Another point to keep in mind. The SOLE evidence of ANY connection to Iran is the transfer of $100K from an Iranian bank.

    I know something about computer security. ANY competent hacker can hack an organization and arrange a wire transfer from that organization’s bank account. Happens every day in the US using standard hacking techniques. Companies, schools, and other organizations lose scores of thousands of dollars from this sort of thing all the time.

    So how hard would it be for Mossad, or the Saudis, or the CIA – even the incompetent FBI hackers – to hack a Tehran company – or even a bank – and execute a wire transfer to back up this ridiculous plot? Not hard at all, I can assure you.

    If you can get Stuxnet into a closed nuclear network, you can get a phoney bank wire transfer done.

    There is absolutely no doubt that this was either some sort of false flag operation by the Saudis, Mossad and/or the CIA, or some kind of con game being run by one of the parties involved. The Iranian government had absolutely nothing to do with this.

    The real question is: since this should be obvious to the US government, WHY is Obama pushing this? The answer should be obvious as well: he is under the control of the Israel Lobby and is pushing for war with Iran.

    And if it is alleged that Khamenei “had to know about this plot” (with zero supporting evidence), then we have to ask if this was a CIA/Mossad/Saudi plot, how high does it go and did Obama know and approve of it?

  37. The Rude Pundit version, FBI’s “Truman Story” is a howl. Check it out: link to rudepundit.blogspot.com

    Speaking of dubious FBI plots, ex-FBI director Louis Freeh has an op-ed in the NYT calling the Mujahedeen al-Khalq “maligned:” link to nytimes.com
    Deluded, another paroxysm in his jihad against the Clintons, or both? Or maybe it’s just reputed-cult solidarity. Look up “Opus Dei” as well as the MEK.

  38. What gets me is how such an obvious piece of bunkum can get ratcheted up to the highest bloke on the planet and then presented as a virtual casus belli for war against Iran when it’s such a patently and pathetically transparent story that is clearly the figment of some warmongering lunatics imagination. They then have the temerity to suggest that the world needs to accept this nonsense with a gasp and then hold its collective breath and watch the sparks fly.

    Why do we do that?

  39. It certainly distracts from the impending European banking collapse (despite fanciful plans) and the ongoing and increasing demonstrations of the 99 percent.

    @William James Martin
    To quote and to extrapolate in to all policies from David J. Lynch’s article at Bloomberg:

    “Raghuram Rajan, the IMF’s former chief economist, says countries with high levels of inequality tend to produce ineffective economic policies. Political systems in economically divided countries grow polarized and immobilized by the sort of zero-sum politics now gripping Washington.”

  40. Eric Holder is the attorney who defended a multinational in Bolivia that killed practically an entire nation of natives in order to exploit gas and pollute, and charge the bolivians what they could not pay for energy

  41. It seems plausible that this absurd plot was intended to distract attention from the serious questions about the FBI’s dubious behavior with the anthrax episode. Now that very important issue has passed by with only a fraction of the attention it merited. This silly story took it off the front pages.

  42. I suspect this is less a “wag the dog” reelection ploy.

    I think it may fit with Panetta’s panicky recent trip to Israel to deter Israel from using US-supplied bunker buster bombs against Iran. Perhaps, Panetta assured Israeli government that we’ve got this ridiculous case involving an Iranian expatriate that we are going to turn into cause celebre against Iran to ratchet up the pressure on them and increase the likelihood of stronger sanctions. And, if not more sanctions, at least a better environment for future military action. We told the Israelis, please don’t act precipitously; allow us to do some prep work first (with the hope that delaying an Israeli strike will make it less likely to happen).

  43. Appropriate Churchill Quotes on the Matter of Truth

    In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.

    A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.

    Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.

    ============
    Random & Evil thoughts

    Could be that the Arab Spring has caused a dearth of terrorists so they had to invent some new ones.

    If there’d been no 9/11 event GW Bush may not have got a second term, maybe that’s Obama’s thinking now.

    An invasion of Iran would mean the US could withdraw from Afghanistan and Iraq without the need to bring the troops home. The prospect of Iran as a vassal of the US is not beyond the realms of my imagination, but I’ve never thought that about the other two.

    ============
    It’d be nice if IC had “Thanks for the Info” and “Thanks for the Laugh” buttons on Comments.

  44. Sorry, but I just don’t get it. I have trouble believing that Obama, Holder, Mueller and Petraeus, none of whom is a complete moron, would stand behind such a transparently unbelievable story unless there is more here than has been revealed. I do know that criminal complaints contain only enough evidence to convince a judge there is probable cause to believe a crime has been committed and frequently leave out the most convincing evidence because the investigation is ongoing. Once again, I just don’t get it.

    • “Obama, Holder, Mueller and Petraeus, none of whom is a complete moron”

      Um, you have heard Obama say that we are fighting the war in Afghanstan in order to “deny them the space in which to plan their attacks” right?

      • Complete moron standard: Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz of Arabia, Feif, Kristol and the list goes on (all of whom, except for Bush, seem tom be advising Romney or Perry).

    • That’s exactly what my friend said about the lead up to the Iraq war; the Bush administration couldn’t possibly be making completely unfounded accusations, they must know stuff they weren’t telling us. It was unbelievable they’d lead us to war under false circumstances.

      The US government has lost the right to be given the benefit of the doubt when it makes accusations along these lines.

  45. For shame, a historian should understand the value of expertise and not even pretend to be able to armchair diagnose someone as “clinically insane.” It would be bad enough alone, but since you refer back to his apparent inability to tell fact from reality your qualities as a mental health expert become dreadfully weak point in your argument.

    I also note the inherent weakness in the idea CS-1 came up with the whole thing in that it fails to explain how the informant hooked up with Arbabsiar in the first place. The official version is he talked to CS-1′s aunt about finding someone who “knew explosives.” If factual, pretending this is all entrapment by an overzealous informant is just airy dismissal of evidence in favor of preexisting conclusions. If the official story is false in this regard, some explanation still needs to be made about how “Maxwell Smart” hooked up with CS-1.

  46. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be gone in 2013, unless he stages a coup and gets rid of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

    Could Ahmadinejad’s dispute with Khamenei be connected to the nutter plot to blown up the Saudi Ambassador. Could Khamenei’s boys have set that up to frame Ahmadinejad or visa versa – who knows.

  47. Just because the plot was a stupid thing to do doesn’t mean the Iranian government didn’t do it. They’ve done plenty of stupid things before. Americans certainly have no monopoly on foreign policy blunders. Someone mentioned the Zimmerman telegram. That was a really stupid, laughably stupid, thing to do, too. But the German government actually sent it. I’ll wait until the dust settles before I decide whether this plot was real or not. And the real history won’t be written until the archives are declassified in both countries.

  48. (sorry if this is a recap) So I guess what happened is that an unnamed felon turned FBI paid criminal informant hit up some nutty push over, Manssor Arbabsiar for $1.5 million dollars in exchange for the informant assassinating the Saudi ambassador with a bomb that would kill lots of bystanders. The details and the killing of bystanders were completely cooked up either by the FBI or the informant (just as with the Portland bomber in 2007). This is blatant entrapment, and quite a distortion to claim anything “originated” in Iran.

    What’s interesting is that the FBI informant was a former drug trafficker posing as a member of the “Mexican drug cartel”, and there has already been a story floated about Hezbollah (claimed to be an agent of Iran) working with the “Mexican drug cartel” to attack the US, which was probably a total fabrication put out by Israeli hawks…..

    The connection to Quds (Iranian CIA) is a just phone conversation or two Arbabsiar allegedly had with Gholam Shakuri, his cousin, who is also (possibly just coincidentally) a Quds official who both monitored the situation and wired some money. Nothing more, and only Shakuri, though he claimed to represent “others”.

    Looks like the hawks on both sides are getting desperate and have found a way to actually help each other, as they will clearly both be winners if many people swallow this schlock. And to imagine- we are paying a US government agency millions to plan and carry out such nonsense.

    To see Obama going on about Iran today reminded me of Colin Powell testifying about Iraq’s WMD’s. Maybe the most disappointing point of Obama’s presidency to date for me. I hope he is just trumping up evidence to force a peace dialog with Iran, otherwise I feel betrayed.

    here is the official “indictment”:
    link to jdsupra.com

  49. There’s an old lawyer’s principle that says if you don’t want people to act, cause doubt. I believe that there is a trend to release obviously “doubtable” stories. For instance, the disposal of OBL’s body at sea seemed calculated to cast doubt on what would have been a routine assassination.

    I wonder if this obviously “cooked” story about an Iranian plot is just another chance to throw a handful of marbles down the corridors of rational thought — to keep people off balance, off topic, and off the streets?

    Or are we about to hear some seriously bad news from Afghanistan? It seems that whenever Afghanistan is going badly, there is more sabre-rattling toward Iran.

  50. Reminds of Abu Zubaydah, supposedly the number 3 in Al Qaeda for awhile (so we were told), who also had very, very poor short term memory. Is our government on the look-out for people with short term memory problems to arrest as terror plotters? It never made sense that they’d have waterboarded 83 times someone who couldn’t remember what he ate for lunch.

  51. I don’t know, Professor. After all, that’s a pretty good description of the previous president and look what all he accomplished.

  52. Other intelligence agencies are watching, wondering if americans can POSSIBLY be dumb enough to fall for this. If I were a hilarious and cynical man, I would imagine them taking bets, and then imagining what “plot” they might be able to get over on the sheep of their own countries.
    I mean, seriously, why even TRY anymore…
    BREAKING NEWS! French Muslim Terrorist caught plotting to sink the British Isles using sharks with laser beams attached to their heads!

  53. Thank you for being very blunt in your critical assessment. But is it worth considering the possibility that a faction in the Iranian government might have fabricated the plot knowing full well that it would never be carried out and making it so implausibly gimcrack that the US would look even more idiotic and war-prone than it already does? In these matters I never know how many layers of speculation to go through.

    • Actually I have started to wonder if the real plot was to make American government look really stupid! If so the Iranian have succeeded…

    • My thought also. Could the plot have been intended to fail in order to ramp up tensions between Iran and the U.S. and Iran and Saudi Arabia? If so, who had motive and who benefits?

  54. He is a bad remake of “Burn After Reading”.

    trent steele has a good plot for the next big terror attack using super dooper dopy Agent Smarts.

  55. It is enough for me to believe that this whole drama/scheme is a bunch of lies, when Juan Cole mentioned that Arbabsiar was a Car dealer!!!. Anyone who has ever dealt with any Iranian in USA, over used or new cars, can tell you (by taking an oath) how much they lie and try to stick you with lemons and simply bad deals. They will lie in your face and swear by Allah too.. LOL!!! and trust me cuz i have worked with them..
    On a serious note, this may be a pretext by USA to pressure Saudi Arabia in starting a confrontation with Iran, instead of Israel doing it. With the current situation in ME, i don’t think both Israel and USA are in a position to start wars with Iran. Saudi Arabia though can deflect the ongoing Middle East spring’s pressure (coming from all side) on Iran. But i think, by their very weak and somewhat muffled response, i can bet, they know what USA is trying to do…

  56. REMEMBER THE MAINE!

    ALso, note that disqualifier #1 was not enough to stop people from believing GWB would be a good president. Why should it stop people from believing this guy could hatch a nefarious plot? The lesson, as always, is that our leaders are unscrupulous, our media sucks up shamelessly to those leaders, and our compatriots are completely #(%@ idiotic.

    GULF OF TONKIN!

  57. “as he faces defeat at Romney”

    Really? You think Romney is going to win? If so you are not as smart as I gave credit.

  58. This plot is a propaganda concocted by Obama’s administration to make a coalition against Iran both internationally and regionally. Any sane mind who thinks for himself can see that the US officials are lying with straight faces, only some of the reasons are below:

    1-. US government has not released any useful information on the case whatsoever. No transparency exists at all. All they have shown us is a bizarre third rate flop movie script and the 1992 picture of a 56 year old supposed assassin in 2011. This does not stand a chance in a respectable court of law, but might ofcourse make it through US system of injustice.

    2- 1.5 million dollars is the claimed price for killing the ambassador of the biggest petroleum reserve on planet in the capital of the world’s largest weapons manufacturer along with ubiquitous and innocent doll faced Americans in a “fictional restaurant” serving pork chops with freedom fries. But wait a minute what else 1.5 million dollar can buy? Well it can buy you a medium sized apartment in Tehran or a Bugatti supercar the kind that drug dealers buy for their girl friends or perhaps a good nice European painting by an obscure artist. Seems like 1.5 million is not much in the world anymore besides its utility to be used in killing ambassadors.

    3- Any self respecting drug dealing gang makes more than a million dollars a week on any busy street in a big city. The gang at the center of this controversy the Zetas are estimated to have an annual revenue of over 40 billion dollars. That is something like 800 million dollars a week or roughly 5.2 million dollars each hour. This means 1.5 million dollars would mean just about 15 minutes worth of their usual time. And the 100 thousand dollar down payment means just worth one minute of their usual time. One wonders why would these guys even talk to an Iranian moron who can not wear matching socks, loses his cellphone in public toilets, is high on whiskey all the time, smokes cheap pot, and is basically a fat 56 year old guy who is broke and has not killed anyone in his life and has no useful skill set.

    4- Iran is living next to Afghanistan a country that produces 95% of the world’s heroine and opium under watchful eyes of US military as well being the largest hashish producer. Iran also is intercepting over half of all the drugs in the world as per United Nations report and executing more drug smugglers in the world than any one else. This makes Iran know the intricacies of drug smuggling full well. This means they know 1.5 million dollars for a drug gang is pocket change and amounts to nothing. They also know fully well that any drug business is peppered with intelligence moles of the resident country. These are basic things that even a team of teenage girls who have watched enough movies know about. So why would Iran send 100 thousand dollars to a drunkard to be given to a drug dealer working for a multi-billion dollar drug industry in a country where DEA and ATF is sitting every where. This does not make sense.

    5- We have been said times and again by US government that Iranian intelligence is very good, possibly better than US intelligence. US claims that only afew Iranian intel officers in Iraq were holding off the 150,000 strong US military there for years. They also tell us these same Iranians were commanding Hizbullah in 2006, sinking Israeli and Egyptian ships using smart thermal guided Iranian anti-ship missiles and blowing up sophisticated IDF tanks. How come then this time they failed? When was the last time Iranians had failed in a mission of such importance?

    6- The US administration claim that Iran was responsible for Argentina bombings so is responsible here too, does not make sense either. First of all the proof for Argentina bombings were no better than the proof in this case. At the time of the bombing in Argentina, Iran had a very good relationship with them. Despite severe US objections, Argentina rebuilt Tehran nuclear reactor which had been expired and provided Iran with enriched uranium fuel something which had made Americans very unhappy to say the least, since no other country was willing to give Iran enriched Uranium or refurbish their 1950′s reactor and Iranians at the time could not produce even a milligram of enriched Uranium themselves. But Iran was interested in more, so they signed an agreement with Argentina to build more reactors and for Argentina to transfer reactor building technology to Iran which Iran to this day does not have. Then came the bombings. A Jewish cultural center. The funny thing was there are synagogues, Jewish hospitals and clinics as well Jewish schools and cultural centers in Iran most of them funded by Iranian government so why would Iran go to the other side of the world to bomb a Jewish cultural center in exactly the same country that is providing it with a technology that Iran so desperately needs and no one else is ready to share with it? After the bombing, US cried wolf, provided intelligence to Argentina implicating Iran and diplomatic relations as well as all economic and technologic deals between Iran and Argentina died. Who benefited? Certainly not Iran and not Argentina.

    7- The moron, low IQ and mentally ill accused in this case is claimed to have been in touch with his “masters” in Iran through his house phone calling the intelligence headquarter in Iran. They discussed the whole plan on the phone and exchanged views about it as well as money matters, it is claimed. This is all happening in a country that has a ministry of love by the name of NSA. Don’t Iranians know this? They must be at least suspicious that being an enemy of US every single call to and from Iran with US is being monitored. How come then they were talking it on the phone?

    8- It is claimed the guy received a 100 thousand dollars from Iran in a wire transfer. Has Mr. Obama forgotten that it was a recent black skinned winner of nobel prize who happens to be US president has imposed severe banking sanctions on Iran and wire transfers from Iran to US are impossible? Or did this guy had a special permit from US treasury allowing him to do just that? Ok supposing he did bribe a few big heads in FED to get this illegal permit, how did he convince Iranian intelligence that it was safe to wire the money from the personal account of Iranian intelligence directly to US using the permit of a drunkard clown? Did they not get suspicious assuming the Iranian intelligence know that their banks are under sanctions and even Indians had trouble wiring money to them for all the oil they get from Iran and with China, the Iranian government is essentially down to a barter system with no wire transfer because of the same reason?

    9- And why would an ideological state such as Iran which basically thrives on martyrdom and ideological glory would hire non-Muslim Mexican drug gangs? Is that even allowed in Islam? To teem up with those selling drugs, alcohol or running prostitution rings to run a Jihad? What are the views of Ayatollah on this one?

    10- True, Iranians have hit some precise targets and assassinated their opponents in Europe, but those were all Iranians who were viewed by Iranian state as traitors, much like how Russia treats its traitors in London or Kiev. But in this case, there is no such connections at all. Infact this whole thing could be an internal rivalry between two competing princes among over 15000 princes in Saudi Arabia. Or it could be an MEK/PJAK operation trying to achieve their objective with or without help from some war mongering factions within US power structure. Or equally it could be the job of the same people who made the first cyber war attack in history of mankind on Iran and killing Iran’s scientists along with their wives infront of their 4 year old daughter’s kindergarten. There are just too many variables, and too many beneficiaries. But Iran is not among those beneficiaries that is for sure.

    11- Ever since Saudis and US who supported the loyal canine Saddam against Iran, lost him when he went rabid somewhere along the line as the poor creature was not vaccinated properly, Saudis specially are after bringing down Iran. But they know full well that Saudis are not Iraqis and will not be able to fight in a real war even if supported by US. So they are trying to get US to attack Iran, same is with Israel. But even US is not sure it can win a war against Iran clean and fast, so they have to choke Iran economically and technologically first in order weaken the resolve of the people so that the invasion is going to be easier. This plot could be just a step in that direction by putting more sanctions on Iran in addition to nuclear sanctions.

    12- With track record of US in lying all the time, whether it was in 1953, when US had claimed that pro-freedom people in Tehran had overthrown dictator Mossadeq (official US statement of the time) or when US was claiming that it was Iran that was using chemical weapons against Kurds and Iraq and Saddam did not use them in 1980′s (official US statement of the time) or when they lied about WMD’s in Iraq later on when UN had cleared them up, or when just weeks ago it emerged that those US officials who have brought this new case against Iran were actually selling weapons to Mexican drug gangs and Zetas (proceedings and investigations on Eric Holder the US attoney General who was implicated in gun trafficking with cocaine Mexico cartels, have stopped since this new case came to light)…. one can not simply trust what US says. Even the timing and so many co-incidents make it suspicious. American hikers/spies were freed at same time this guy is arrested, Israeli POW is being freed in a rare Hamas deal, situation in Syria and Bahrain, propping up of Turkey and Saudi to counter Iran’s influence, the US official involved in negotiation with Iran over US hiker/spy case as well as an Iran adviser to US government is found dead now in his house, Rabbani a pro-Iranian is killed in Afghanistan few meters away from US embassy in Kabul while he had just returned from Iran, US is about to leave Iraq in December forever, Russia and China use the veto power at UN to save Syria, despite sanctions IMF praises Iranian economy and curses US economy, etc, etc. There are so many things connected with each other, or it seems.

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