Tag Archives | FBI

More on So-Called Iranian Plot

The more I read about the Iran Plot, the more I am disgusted and shocked at the Obama Administration.  The story has holes in it that make me shudder in the same way I did reading about Iraq’s WMD and seeing shaky US intelligence shipped around the world.

Not only are most Iranian experts registering skepticism, but now legal bloggers are adding their two cents worth.  From The Atlantic, Mary Wheeler writes:

The details provided about the $100,000 in the complaint also do not implicate Quds Force as strongly as they might. The complaint describes an unnamed person calling Arbabsiar to tell him the money would be transferred to “Individual #1.” And it describes Arbabsiar telling the informant that Individual #1 had received the money the morning before the first taped July 14 conversation. Then, it describes the money being sent from two different “foreign entities” through a Manhattan bank into an FBI account. The complaint doesn’t even specify that these two foreign entities were Iranian, much less tied to Quds Force.

Furthermore, the complaint doesn’t describe who Individual #1 is, though the way that the complaint is written suggests that he or she was not a member of Quds Force: three Quds Force members are described as “Iranian Officials” in the complaint and Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani is named explicitly. More curiously, Individual #1, who allegedly served as middleman for the down payment on the planned assassination, was neither charged for his role nor was he among the five people sanctioned for this operation by the Treasury Department. What the complaint describes about this key piece of evidence, in other words, is money being transferred from someone not even charged in this case to the FBI. But if the plot began with the Quds Force hatching it in Iran and extended to Arbabsiar acting on their behalf in the U.S., and if the U.S. government appears to be either charging or sanctioning everyone involved, why would this middleman, Individual #1, go unnamed and untouched?

This next quote is from commondreams.org, a site I’ve never read before that was linked in a comment section from one I read everyday.  I can’t vouch for it, but the items it raises can all be fact-checked easily.  In essence, this article questions whether used-car salesman Arbabsiar may have been used to sting his cousin in the Al Quds force.  It poses the possibility that Arnbabsiar first implicated himself in a drug deal, mentioned that he knew Reza Shalai to the DEA and was then used by the FBI to entrap his Iranian cousin.

But the suggestion that forensic examination of the wire transfers could somehow show who had approved them is misleading. The wire transfers were from two separate non-Iranian banks in a foreign country, according to the FBI’s account. It would be impossible to deduce who approved the transfer by looking at the documents.

Pure, unadulterated speculation: Israel attacks Iran before year’s end.

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The Iranian Plot

Yesterday, US Attorney General Eric Holder announced the arrest of an Iranian American citizen, Mansour J. Arbabsiar, as the central character in a plot to kill the Saudi Ambassador in Washington.  Arbabsiar was the go between a member of the Al Quds division of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and what he thought was a Mexican drug cartel which was to supply to assassins.  However, Arbabsiar was actually dealing with an FBI informant and not the Mexican cartel.  The plot was disrupted after the Al Quds member wired $1oo,ooo to a US bank account.

Immediately, independent national security and Iranian experts raised doubts about this plot being carried out by the Iranian government.  First, Iranian intelligence services are highly professional and almost always use proxies so black ops can’t be traced back to the government.  Second, any Iranian spy would know that transferring $100,000 as a ‘down payment’ for the assassination to a US bank account raises an immediate red flag.  Third, using a drug cartel would again be counter to how Iran normally operates.  Fourth, why on US soil?

However, according to Bloomberg:

After he was arrested, Arbabsiar agreed to phone Shakuri in Iran in calls that were monitored, the U.S. said in the criminal complaint. During the calls, Shakuri told Arbabsiar to move forward with the plot “as quickly as possible.”

Shakuri also told Arbabsiar during the call that he would consult with his superiors about whether they would be willing to pay additional money for the hit men.

Iran and Saudi Arabia are engaged in regional rivalry with much animosity between them.  But killing the Saudi Ambassador on US soil is not in Iran’s interest – or so it would seem.

Meanwhile, the Iranian government denounced the charges as fabrications made by the US.  Ayatollah Khamenie charged ‘“the corrupted capitalist system shows no mercy to any nation, including the American people.”

UN Ambassador Rice is scheduled to brief the Security Council on the plot today.  There is speculation among those who study Iran that the plot may have been set in motion by a rogue groups in Al Quds acting as a drug cartel within Iran.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Scientists Challenge Antrax Investigation – Again!

The antrax drama continues.  Three leading antrax scientists, long critical of the FBI investigation into who made and mailed deadly antrax spores in 2001, have written a new paper that calls for reopening the case.

Both the chairwoman of a National Academy of Science panel that spent a year and a half reviewing the F.B.I.’s scientific work and the director of a new review by the Government Accountability Office said the paper raised important questions that should be addressed.

Other antrax scientists disputed the new claims.  Yet it remains unclear why the FBI dropped any reference to  tin after calling it ‘an element of interest’ early on in investigation.  The question is whether the tin was used as part of the antrax production, meaning the process was too sophisticated to be carried out by suspect Bruce Ivins alone or was an incidental contaminant from another source.

Scientists have criticized the FBI since day one of the antrax scare.  In its most high-profile misstep, the FBI hounded former Army scientist, Steven Hatfill, for years seeking to bring a case against him as the murderer.  When Bruce Ivins was named the perpetrator shortly after committing suicide in anticipation of being accused, Dr. Hatfill was exonerated and paid $4.5. million in compensation.

This is the first bioterrorism case pursued by the FBI in the United States.  The continuing dispute over the science and methods used in the investigation reflects its importance as a prototype of bioterrorism forensic work.

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Antrax Investigation Again Doubted

The government’s statements deepen the questions about the case against Ivins, who killed himself before he was charged with a crime. Searches of his car and home in 2007 found no anthrax spores, and the FBI’s eight-year, $100 million investigation never proved he mailed the letters or identified another location where he might have secretly dried the anthrax into an easily inhaled powder. . . . – Glen Greenwald, Salon

As incredible as it sounds, major doubts are surfacing about the FBI’ s case against Bruce Irvin, who committed suicide four years ago rather than be accused of the crime.

This entire case has been bizarre.  First, the Feds were sure that Dr. Stephen Hatfill was responsible for the deaths of five people in 2001.  He was hounded mercilessly for years by FBI agents as well as the media.  The NYT virtually tried and convicted him on its front page.

Then, suddenly, the FBI said it was wrong: the real culprit was Ivins.  Although admitting their case against Ivins was circumstantial, the FBI insisted it was slam-dunk.  Now, however, the Justice Department admits that Dr. Ivins’ laboratory, when seized by the FBI, did not have the equipment necessary to weaponize the anthrax strain he studied professionally.  Scientists who worked with him insist he could not have ‘grown’ the amount of anthrax spores associate with the attack without his colleagues knowing about it.  Other microbiologists are demanding that the FBI investigators release more information on the scientific method that led them to their conclusions.

In excerpts from one of more than a dozen depositions made public in the case last week, the current chief of of the Bacteriology Division at the Army laboratory, Patricia Worsham, said it lacked the facilities in 2001 to make the kind of spores in the letters.

At issue is 1) the FBI’s competency to protect against domestic terrorism; and 2) whether the FBI gave sufficient attention to the possibility of a foreign agent sending the lethal spores through the US Post Office to select Congressional office and media.

Greenwald’s piece provides extensive links to scientific journals, mainstream media and individual scientists who are skeptical of the FBI investigations.

 

 

 

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