No sooner was Eric Holder’s press conference done at which he trumpeted the government’s penetration of a Massive Plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the U.S., than progressive bloggers and journalists like Spencer Ackerman, Glenn Greenwald and Prof. Muhammad Sahimi began to take it apart for its sheer lameness and lack of credibility. Greenwald, for example, notes that the Washington Post itself, a credulous backer of the administration’s claims, conceded that the key conspirator, Manssor Arbabsiar, seemed a hapless fellow who couldn’t even run a business, let alone conduct a sophisticated plot to murder one of the most high profile diplomats in Washington DC.
This is the “criminal mastermind” behind alleged Saudi assassination plot: he couldn’t even pay his bills or run a business. This is the guy who’s gonna blow up the Saudi ambassador:
“David Tomscha, 60, met Arbabsiar 15 years ago when he bought an Acura Integra from him in Corpus Christi and later bought a car lot with him. Tomscha described Arbabsiar as a disorganized businessman who often could not locate the titles of cars he was selling. Tomscha eventually bought Arbabsiar’s half of the business after he failed to pay his bills. “I would say he did it for the money,” Tomscha said, referring to the allegations against him. “He’s not a terrorist. He’s more an opportunist than anything else.”
The article goes on to note that the Iranian-American’s ex-wife made a domestic violence complaint against him and that he was accused of check fraud but never prosecuted. Don’t know about you, but if I wanted to assassinate a diplomat working for a key ally of the U.S. in our nation’s capital, I might choose someone else. Someone a bit more…credible, shall we say?
Greenwald goes on to note the hypocrisy of the U.S. practically declaring war on Iran for allegedly plotting to kill someone it detests on foreign soil, when this seems to be precisely what the U.S. is doing through its drone strikes and assassinations against Osama bin Laden and Anwar Al-Awlaki, among others. The Salon blogger also wonders whether somewhere in a cubicle in an Iranian justice ministry building there is a lawyer scribbing a memo to be used by his higher ups to justify the murder of the Saudi ambassador. Touche, Barack. You’ve got it coming to you.
This all fits the frame of my conspiracy theory (dun dun DUN~ oh no! get your tinfoil hats!) that the administration is being blackmailed through their engagement of Fast and Furious and then the subsequent leak. Fast and Furious implicates the entire Obama administration in a large drug and arms scandal. It’s worse than the Contra Affairs, and Hillary is purported to be a central planner. I believe the leak put the message out to the administration that they better start following orders or more would be exposed.
It would seem tangential to this, but I believe this “scandal” is from the same people that brought us the “Al Qaeda magazine tells Ahmadinejad to quit 9/11 Conspiracies” hoopla. Mind you, the current administration engaged in an extra-judicial killing of Al-Awlaki and got the publisher of that so-called magazine as well in the same strike (how convenient!)
It’s also unsurprising that they make such bold moves and think that it will land favorable consequences, with the reality being directly the opposite: now the American public (and the world) REALLY have a hard time believing any proffered justifications to escalate pressure on Iran. You can fool us once. You can fool us twice. But three times? Don’t misunderestimate our nookeeler powers.
Times are bad. When times get bad, people look for easy scapegoats and quick, simple fixes. AND DECISIVE LEADERS. (Recall Hitler in 1930s). So, I fully expect the people of the USA to “buy” the administration’s stories UNLESS Republicans surprise us all by acting AGAINST ISRAEL’s interests by exposing the nonsense of this Iran-related plot. The MSM are lap-dogs and are NEVER the first to make a fuss.
There appears to be only one piece of hard evidence that the USA possesses linking Arbabsiar with an official representative of the Iranian govt, and that is the taped phone conversations between Arbabsiar and Gholam Shakuri.
So to link the Iranian GOVERNMENT to this plot the Americans need to demonstrate that Gholam Shakuri is “a member of the Quds force”, versus being somebody Who Is Not Who He Claims To Be.
Try as I might, I can see no evidence any of the USA’s statements and documents to substantiate that allegation i.e. the allegation that Shakuri is a professional Iranian spook is presented as a self-evident truth.
That’s what you have to keep your eye on i.e. not on Shakuri’s links to Arbabsiar – which appear to be undeniable – but to the evidence that claims to link Shakuri to the Iranian Quds Force.
Richard Silverstein says
Muhammad Sahimi has written about precisely this. He is a very close observer of the regime. After diligent searches through every known source, he can come up w no reference to Shukari having any affiliation w the Revolutionary Guards. Is there a chance that one or the other SAID they had such connections? Sure, possibly even a likelihood. Perhaps even some low level real RG figure provided the cash mentioned in the charge sheet. But even that is unconfirmed & unconfirmable.
“Perhaps even some low level real RG figure provided the cash mentioned in the charge sheet.”
The cash is an interesting wrinkle in all this, because it indicates that someone with Big Finances was involved.
But, again, this must be stressed: the fact that Arbabsiar was able to get his hands on $100,000 is not in and of itself “proof” that the money came from the Revolutionary Guards.
Parah Salin says
Well, the MEK has a lot of money and they could be playing the part at the other end.
Richard Silverstein says
Actually $100K is chump change for some. And Juan Cole or some other source I read yesterday said Arbabsiar has business ventures in Iran worth $2 million. So it could’ve been his own money.
Not to mention, of course, that only an amateur would think that $1.5million would be enough to entice a Mexican drug cartel to – literally – go to war against the United States of America.
Honestly, the “plot” sounds so implausible that if makes Colin Powell’s efforts in the UN look like George Washington under the cherry tree.
Reg Vernon says
I simply don’t believe that this plot is anything other than a crude attempt by the USA to exploit a vulnerable person’s need for money in order to ‘manufacture’ a scenario damaging to Iran. It’s entrapment. I don’t believe for a moment that the guy thought this up himself or was a prime mover with malign intentions.
I don’t believe it either. The US has gotten so good at scapegoating people that it’s getting just too frightening. The FBI uses entrapment techniques constantly because the “war on terror” monster constantly demands to be fed.
Obama must be getting pretty desperate to sink this low. Even Bush and Cheney would never trot out such a lame excuse for a “terrorist plot.” Really, even the Sears Tower doofuses were more believable.
John Farbarik says
Another WMD all over again.