Tag Archives | Iranian assassination plot

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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If You Have the Facts, Why Can’t We See Them?

The more the Administration and President Obama say they have the facts about the Iran plot, the more uneasy I get:

In his first public remarks on the issue since it was revealed on Tuesday, Mr. Obama sought to counter skepticism about whether Iran’s Islamic government directed an Iranian-American car salesman to engage with a Mexican drug cartel to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States and carry out other attacks. Mr. Obama insisted that American officials “know that he had direct links, was paid by, and directed by individuals in the Iranian government.”

“Now those facts are there for all to see,” Mr. Obama said. “We would not be bringing forward a case unless we knew exactly how to support all the allegations that are contained in the indictment.”

At the same time, State Department officials said United States officials had been in direct contact with the government of Iran over the accusations.

The possibilities:

1.  The whole plot story, as told by the Justice Department, is true.  The highest levels of the Iranian government knew of and/or planned the assassination.

2.  It was a rogue operation by a member or members of Al Quds, unknown to the Iranian government.

3,  It was a rogue operation and, despite not knowing about it, Iran needs to take responsibility for the action of rogue operatives, meaning arresting and trying them as criminal elements.

4.  The informant made up the story.

5.  The used car salesman, Mansour J. Arbabsiar , made up the story and/or exaggerated his ties to Gholam Shakuri the alleged Al Quds member.

If the State Department has been in contact with the Iranian government, then I go with #3.  But the State Department being in contact with the Iranian government opens another dimension to the incident.  Because the US and Iran do not have diplomatic relations, most issues of dispute are sent through the Swiss Embassy in Iran or discussed in asides at international conferences.  Direct contact would be unusual.

The Obama Administration is fighting back against a credibility problem when it comes to intelligence work.  The Bush Administration case against Iraq and MWD was initiated from the debriefing of an Iraqi émigré code-named ‘Curveball’.  Curveball once was  a CIA operative until the CIA became suspicious of Curveball’s veracity and dropped him.  The Defense Department stepped in, picked Curveball up and used his uncollaborated testimony about MWD to push for war.  The US lost as much credibility by finding no MWD in Iraq as a new car looses value the minute  you drive it off the lot.  You can never make it up.

Now the US government, this time the Obama Administration, again asks the American public and the international community to believe its narrative on the Iranian plot to kill the Saudi Ambassador.  Even the Justice and State Departments admit the whole story sounds like a Hollywood movie.  The facts of the case are fuzzy, key questions about Gholam Shakuri aren’t addressed, no details about the $100,000 wire transfer said to be from Al Quds has been turned over to journalists and independent Iran and National Security experts for assessment.

The stakes are enormous.  If the plot is real and directed by the Iranian Government, it throws the rationality of Iranian leaders into question.  If it is something less the US government should be held accountable for charging the Iranian government for planning the plot.  If it’s somewhere in between, let the world judge it.

“Just the facts, Ma’am!” we ask of Secretary Clinton and President Obama. “Show us the beef!”

 

 

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