Thursday, October 13, 2011

It Must Be Presidential Campaign Season: Obama Produces "Terror" Plot By Iran

Taking a page from the G.W. Bush playbook, Obama has put "Terror" front and center in the minds of Americans, a little over a year before the next Presidential election.

A month or so ago, he ordered the killling of bin Laden, when he could have been captured and brought to a trial. Then he tosses his body into the sea before anyone else could identify him. A week or so ago he had two American citizens in Yemen, supposed terrorists, killed without trial.

This week, the Obama administration, through Attorney General Eric Holder (under scrutiny for lying to Congress about "Fast and Furious," which sold guns to very unsavory characters in Mexico) and FBI Director Robert Mueller (Appointed by G.W. Bush a few days prior to the 9/11 attacks), unveiled an allegedly planned, but foiled, "terrorist attack" on the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. Mainstream media outlets, from NPR to the Washington Post, repeated the story while presumably trying to keep a straight face.

Is an election year attack on Iran in the making? Thinking it might be a bit too obvious a ploy at this late date, but who knows? A few years back I predicted either Obama or Israel would do so before Obama leaves office. Maybe Obama is just trying to distract folks from their dire economic straits and a floundering empire. (But on the other hand, he did deliver 55 bunker buster bombs to Israel in 2009.)

Here are a few articles from the alternative press that raise the obvious and not so obvious questions about the "plot." [See the links provided for each article to access important links included within it.]

FAKE TERROR - FBI Entrapment Plot Involving Iran Assassinating Saudi Ambassador Act Of War?


The Fast and Furious Plot to Occupy Iran

Tehran would have to be terminally foolish to try to snuff out an ambassador on US soil, author says.

By Pepe Escobar

October 13, 2011 "Al-Jazeera" - - No one ever lost money betting on the dull predictability of the US government. Just as Occupy Wall Street is firing imaginations all across the spectrum - piercing the noxious revolving door between government and casino capitalism - Washington brought us all down to earth, sensationally advertising an Iranian cum Mexican cartel terror plot straight out of The Fast and the Furious movie franchise. The potential victim: Adel al-Jubeir, the ambassador in the US of that lovely counter-revolutionary Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

FBI Director Robert Mueller insisted the Iran-masterminded terror plot "reads like the pages of a Hollywood script". It does. And quite a sloppy script at that. Fast and Furious duo Paul Walker/Vin Diesel wouldn't be caught dead near it.

The good guys in this Washington production are the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). In the words of Attorney General Eric Holder, they uncovered "a deadly plot directed by factions of the Iranian government to assassinate a foreign Ambassador on US soil with explosives".

Holder added that the bombing of the Saudi embassy in Washington was also part of the plan. Subsequent spinning amplified that to planned bombings of the Israeli embassy in Washington, as well as the Saudi and Israeli embassies in Buenos Aires.

The Justice Department has peddled quite a murky story - Operation Red Coalition (no, you can’t make that stuff up) - centred on one Manssor Arbabsiar, a 56-year-old holding both Iranian and US passports and an Iran-based co-conspirator, Gholam Shakuri, an alleged member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps's (IRGC) Quds Force.

Arbabsiar allegedly had a series of encounters in Mexico with a DEA mole posing as a Mexican drug cartel heavy weight. The Iranian-American seems to have been convinced that the mole was a member of the hardcore Zetas Mexican cartel, and reportedly bragged he was being "directed by high-ranking members of the Iranian government", including a cousin who was "a member of the Iranian army but did not wear a uniform".

On top of it, he told the DEA mole that his Iranian government buddies could come up with "tons of opium" for the Mexican cartel (an Afghan connection, perhaps). Then they discussed a "number of violent missions" complete with Arbabsiar bragging about bombing a packed Washington restaurant used by the Saudi ambassador.

Holder characterised the whole thing as a $1.5m "murder-for-hire" plan. Arbabsiar was arrested only a few days ago, on September 29, at JFK airport in New York. He allegedly confessed, according to the Justice Department. Shakuri for his part is still at large.

Holder was adamant: "The United States is committed to hold Iran accountable for its actions." Yet he stopped short of stating the plot was approved by the highest levels of the Iranian government. So what next? War? Hold your horses; Washington should first think about asking the Chinese if they’re willing to foot the bill (the answer will be no).

Predictably, the proverbial torrent of US "officials" came out with guns blazing, spinning everything in sight. An alarmed Pentagon will be increasing surveillance over the Quds Force and "Iran’s actions" in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf. Former US ambassadors stated that, "it's an attack on the United States to attack this ambassador". Washington is about to impose even more sanctions against Iran; and Washington is urgently taking the matter to the UN Security Council.

What next? An R2P ("responsibility to protect") resolution ordering NATO to protect every House of Saud minion across the world by bombing Iran into regime change?

Ali Akbar Javanfekr, a spokesman for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, at least introduced a little bit of common sense. "I think the US government is busy fabricating a new scenario and history has shown both the US government and the CIA have a lot of experience in fabricating these scenarios ... I think their goal is to reach the American public. They want to take the public's mind off the serious domestic problems they're facing these days and scare them with fabricated problems outside the country." Iran has not even established yet that these two characters are actually Iranian citizens.

The Iranian government - which prides itself on a logical approach to diplomacy - would have to have been inoculated with a terminal Stuxnet-style foolishness virus to behave in such a counterproductive manner, by targeting a high-profile foreign policy adviser to King Abdullah on American soil. The official Iranian news agency IRNA described the plot as "America's new propaganda scenario" against Iran.

As for the Washington mantra that "Iran has been insinuating itself into many of the struggles in the Middle East", that's undiluted Saudi propaganda. In fact it's the House of Saud who's been conducting the fierce counter-revolution that has smashed any possibility of an Arab Spring in the Persian Gulf - from the invasion and repression of Bahrain to the rash pre-emption of protests inside Saudi Arabia's Shia-dominated eastern provinces.

The whole thing smells like a flimsy pretext for a casus belli. The timing of the announcement couldn't be more suspicious. White House national security advisor Thomas E. Donilon briefed King Abdullah of the plot no less than two weeks ago, in a three-hour meeting in Riyadh. Meanwhile the US government has been carrying not plots, but targeted assassinations of US citizens, as in the Anwar al-Awlaki case.

So why now? Holder is caught in yet another scandal - on whether he told lies regarding Operation Fast and Furious (no, you can't make this stuff up), a federal gun sting through which scores of US weapons ended up in the hands of - here they come again - Mexican drug cartels.

So how to bury Fast and Furious, the economic abyss, the 10 years of war in Afghanistan, the increasing allure of Occupy Wall Street - not to mention the Saudi role in smashing the spirit of the Arab Spring? By uncovering a good ol' al-Qaeda style plot on US soil, on top of it conducted by "evil" Iran. Al-Qaeda and Tehran sharing top billing; not even Cheney and Rumsfeld in their heyday could come up with something like this. Long live GWOT (the global war on terror). And long live the neo-con spirit; remember, real men go to Tehran - and the road starts now.

Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times. His latest book is named Obama Does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).


From Phillip Giraldi: One Step Closer to War
October 12th, 2011

. . . .
And if the Persian/Arab Gulf problems erupting aren’t enough to worry about, the Israelis had previously developed plans for an attack on Iran. However, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta carried a U.S. message to Tel Aviv last week that President Barack Obama would not support a military strike. Israeli plans for an attack had alarmed the National Security Council and the Senate foreign affairs committee when briefed on Tel Aviv’s proposal. However, the Iranian terrorist operation just revealed could lend support to long-time American hard liners as well as Israel’s supporters for bombing Iran. The Israeli position will be strengthened by the Saudis telling President Barack Obama that they will strongly support a military option directed against Iran. The Saudis are believed to be in direct contact with the Israelis, telling them that King Abd’allah is in favor of a strike on Iran, and proposing that the two countries coordinate their activities to get Washington fully on board.
[Emphasis Added]

'No way Iran devised assassination plot'

Iran could not have been behind the plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the US in any imaginable way, a former CIA officer tells Press TV.

Philip Giraldi, former CIA officer from Washington, said in an interview with Press TV that all the details that have surfaced about the attempt are “ridiculous.”

The following is a transcript of the interview:

Press TV: Let us assume that Iranians were really plotting to kill the Saudi ambassador on the American soil. Would they contract it out to the Mexican mafia, send traceable money, wires from Iran to the US and not care if they killed 100 Americans in the process of achieving this goal? Please give us your impression as a former CIA officer about the circumstances that have arisen.

Giraldi: Iran had absolutely no motive for carrying this out. Then I would add as a former professional intelligence officer that all the details that have surfaced about this operation are ridiculous. No professional intelligence service, whether from Iran or anywhere else, would ever have run anything like this, which is not to say that there is not a kernel of truth in this story that maybe somebody was plotting to do something and was doing it in a very stupid way and came to the attention of the Drug Enforcement Agency and eventually to the FBI.

We have a missing chapter here, which is the past nine months, during which period the DEA informant was in contact with one of these gentlemen and we do not know to what extent the situation was manipulated by him to turn what may have started out as nothing and turn it into a case that could be exported by the government to make its case that is being tough on terrorism.

There are a lot of little stories here, a lot of things we do not know yet, but I would absolutely agree that I cannot imagine there is any way that the Iranian government could have been behind this.

Press TV: After the news of the alleged assassination plot broke out, the Pentagon said this needs a diplomatic and not a military response and on the other hand, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Iran needs to be more isolated. In particular, what do you think of chances of US attacking Iran?

Giraldi: I think they are very low if the United States is the one making the decision, but if Israel orders to stage an attack, I think it is inevitable the United States would get drawn in.

But I think there is something everybody is missing here. Leon Panetta was in Israel last week and I think it is generally accepted that Panetta warned the Israelis that the Obama administration does not want Israel to unilaterally attack Iran. Every time the Secretary of State or Secretary of Defense goes to Israel and gives them a warning about something, you usually see within a few days something happening to basically tell the Israelis, “But we are still on your side.”

I would rather suspect the timing of this whole thing is going back to the Israelis to make a case to put more pressure on Iran. I think that is the quid pro quo that we are seeing here, “Do not attack Iran, but we are going to put more pressure on them and we have this story in the pipeline that will enable us to do that.”

I am just speculating on that. I have no specific information but I think it is something worth thinking about, because you see this pattern repeated over and over again. Certainly the Israelis, of all the players in this thing that we are talking about, are the only ones that really have a strong desire to go to war with Iran. I do not think anyone else, even the United States, has any serious desire in that direction. So I think this is something we should be thinking about.


Scott Horton Interviews Philip Giraldi

Scott Horton, October 13, 2011

Former CIA officer Philip Giraldi discusses the inside information on the alleged Iranian plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US; indications that the plot was legitimate but an amateurish rogue operation – not the work of Iran’s government; escalating talk of “all options on the table” for military retaliation against Iran; and why it’s never a good sign when Saudi Arabia and Israel agree on a common regional enemy.

MP3 here. (18:30)

Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, is a contributing editor to The American Conservative and executive director of the Council for the National Interest. He writes regularly for

The “Very Scary” Iranian Terror Plot

By Glenn Greenwald

October 13, 2011

"Salon" -- The most difficult challenge in writing about the Iranian Terror Plot unveiled yesterday is to take it seriously enough to analyze it. Iranian Muslims in the Quds Force sending marauding bands of Mexican drug cartel assassins onto sacred American soil to commit Terrorism — against Saudi Arabia and possibly Israel — is what Bill Kristol and John Bolton would feverishly dream up while dropping acid and madly cackling at the possibility that they could get someone to believe it. But since the U.S. Government rolled out its Most Serious Officials with Very Serious Faces to make these accusations, many people (therefore) do believe it; after all, U.S. government accusations = Truth. All Serious people know that. And in the ensuing reaction one finds virtually every dynamic typically shaping discussions of Terrorism and U.S. foreign policy.

To begin with, this episode continues the FBI’s record-setting undefeated streak of heroically saving us from the plots they enable. From all appearances, this is, at best, yet another spectacular “plot” hatched by some hapless loser with delusions of grandeur but without any means to put it into action except with the able assistance of the FBI, which yet again provided it through its own (paid, criminal) sources posing as Terrorist enablers. The Terrorist Mastermind at the center of the plot is a failed used car salesman in Texas with a history of pedestrian money problems. Dive under your bed. “For the entire operation, the government’s confidential sources were monitored and guided by federal law enforcement agents,” explained U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, and “no explosives were actually ever placed anywhere and no one was actually ever in any danger.’”

But no matter. The U.S. Government and its mindless followers in the pundit and think-tank “expert” class have seized on this ludicrous plot with astonishing speed to all but turn it into a hysterical declaration of war against Evil, Hitlerian Iran. “The US attorney-general Eric Holder said Iran would be ‘held to account’ over what he described as a flagrant abuse of international law,” and “the US says military action remains on the table,” though “it is at present seeking instead to work through diplomatic and financial means to further isolate Iran.” Hillary Clinton thundered that this “crosses a line that Iran needs to be held to account for.”
Hillary Clinton [added by Chris]

The CIA’s spokesman at The Washington Post, David Ignatius, quoted an anonymous White House official as saying the plot “appeared to have been authorized by senior levels of the Quds Force.” Meanwhile, the State Department has issued a Travel Alert which warns American citizens that this plot “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.”

In case that’s not enough to frighten you — and, really, how could it not be? — some Very Serious Experts are very, very afraid and want you to know how Serious this all is. Within moments of Holder’s news conference, National Security Expert Robert Chesney – without a molecule of critical thought in his brain — announced that this “remarkable development” was “very scary.” Very, very scary. Chesney then printed large blocks of the DOJ’s Press Release to prove it. Self-proclaimed “counter-terrorism expert” Daveed Gartenstein-Ross tapped into his vast expertise to explain: ”Holder weighing in on the plot’s connection to Iran means the administration is deadly serious about it.” Progressive think-tank expert and Atlantic writer Steve Clemons decreed that if the DOJ’s accusations are true, then ”the US has reached a point where it must take action” and “this is time for a significant strategic response to the Iran challenge in the Middle East and globally,” which “could involve military.”

The ironies here are so self-evident it’s hard to work up the energy to point them out. Outside of Pentagon reporters, Washington Post Editorial Page Editors, and Brookings “scholars,” is there a person on the planet anywhere who can listen with a straight face as drone-addicted U.S. Government officials righteously condemn the evil, illegal act of entering another country to commit an assassination? Does anyone, for instance, have any interest in finding out who is responsible for the spate of serial murders aimed at Iran’s nuclear scientists? Wouldn’t people professing to be so outraged by the idea of entering another country to engage in assassination be eager to get to the bottom of that?

. . . .

The United States does not have solid information about “exactly how high it goes,” one official said. . . .The U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said their confidence that at least some Iranian leaders were aware of the alleged plot was based largely on analyses and their understanding of how the Quds Force operates.

I wouldn’t exactly call that — what was the phrase Biden used? — “compelling evidence for the assertions being made.” In fact, it reminds me of the language anonymous government officials began using to describe their “knowledge” of Anwar Awlaki’s alleged operational role in plots against the U.S. once they killed him: “patchy”; “partial”; “suspicion.” But what we learned with Awlaki is likely what we’ll see here: many people reflexively believe government accusations even when unaccompanied by evidence, and that belief is not diluted even when government officials began acknowledging (albeit anonymously) that they do not possess and never did possess any conclusive evidence to support their accusations.

[Entire article]

Follow Glenn Greenwald on Twitter: @ggreenwald.More Glenn Greenwald


Iranian Terror Plot: Fake, Fake, Fake
Not even good propaganda

by Justin Raimondo, October 12, 2011

Fake, fake, fake – I’m talking about the latest anti-Iranian propaganda coming out of Washington, which claims the Iranian Revolutionary Guards were involved in a “plot” to take out the Saudi ambassador to the US and blow up both the Saudi and Israeli embassies. 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 [.pdf], 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 in 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 – because finding and catching real terrorists is much too hard, at least for our Keystone Kops. 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.

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? I guess that would be giving too much away: far better to spice up the story with scary details, such as the conversation between one of the alleged plotters and the informant, in the course of which the former says “If you have to blow up the restaurant and kill a hundred Americans, well then f*ck ‘em!”

The credibility rating of this story, taken on its face, is close to zero. . . . .


The ‘Terrorist’ Who Couldn’t Think Straight
Iranian 'terrorist' plot unravels

by Justin Raimondo, October 14, 2011

Would Iran recruit a used car salesman with a memory problem to conduct assassinations in the US?

This is a question you have to ask yourself when evaluating the alleged Iranian "terrorist" plot supposedly uncovered by Attorney General Eric Holder the other day. The arrest of Mansour Arbabsiar, a 56-year-old Iranian immigrant who came to this country as a college student, was the occasion for a trumpet blast of anti-Iranian propaganda and belligerent declarations by US officials, who vowed to "hold Iran accountable" for purportedly mounting a plot [.pdf] to kill the Saudi ambassador, bomb the Saudi and Israeli embassies in Washington, and strike at the Jewish community in Argentina.

The alleged plot was supposed to have been carried out by a member of the Zetas drug cartel, who was to be paid up to $1.5 million to implement the plan. US officials, even while acknowledging the "B-movie" aspect of the story, reportedly "fanned out" to convince our allies the plot was real and – with Congress already demanding new sanctions on Iran – that the economic vise be tightened. Not only are the more hysterical neocons calling for military action against Iran – no surprise there — but the headlines had the normally staid and relatively reserved Steve Clemons, a prominent Obama shill, babbling that "this is a serious situation" and "the U.S. has reached a point where it must take action," and Sen. Carl Levin calling the plot "an act of war."
Less than 24 hours after Holder’s press conference, the whole fantasy began to unravel under closer scrutiny. Gary Sick, of the Middle East Institute at Columbia University, averred that the alleged plot "departs from all known Iranian policies and procedures," and went on to write:

"It is difficult to believe that they would rely on a non-Islamic criminal gang to carry out this most sensitive of all possible missions. In this instance, they allegedly relied on at least one amateur and a Mexican criminal drug gang that is known to be riddled with both Mexican and U.S. intelligence agents.

"Whatever else may be Iran’s failings, they are not noted for utter disregard of the most basic intelligence tradecraft, e.g. discussing an ultra-covert operation on an open international line between Iran and the U.S. Yet that is what happened here."
. . . .

No Direct Evidence of Iranian Government Complicity in Plot
Posted By John Glaser On October 12, 2011 @ 6:13 pm

Iranian Terror Plot: Fake, Fake, Fake 
(But Who Faked It?)
By Maidhc Ó Cathail

October 12, 2011 "Information Clearing House" -- In his latest piece, Justin Raimondo asks some of the questions that mainstream reporters never seem to think of asking (or if they do, these doubts don’t ever make it past their more credulous editors):

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? I guess that would be giving too much away: far better to spice up the story with scary details, such as the conversation between one of the alleged plotters and the informant, in the course of which the former says “If you have to blow up the restaurant and kill a hundred Americans, well then f*ck ‘em!”

But Raimondo then gets a bit distracted in looking for the source of plot:

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. Throwing caution to the winds, our rulers have decided to go all out against Tehran – all the better to mask our current economic malaise under the damage done by the tripling and quadrupling of oil prices. This way, Obama can blame our crashing economy on Tehran, rather than his own discredited policies – and sideline the Republicans, who have been criticizing him for being “soft” on Iran.

In passing, however, he does locate the more obvious source of any anti-Iranian propaganda:

The making of American foreign policy is all about domestic politics. 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.

In contrast, Raimondo’s readers have a more clear-eyed view of the affair. One comments:

I don’t believe a word of it. The Zionists who control the State, Justice and Homeland Security Departments have fabricated this event to egg the USA on to invade Iran for the sake of Israel security. And the typical Zionist media, CNN, Fox and others, will play it for all its worth. Unfortunately most Americans just don’t understand how manipulated this “greatest government on the earth” is and will likely believe it at face value. Schumer and Kantor will step right up to the plate. In 30 years, when our ties to Israel have bankrupted the nation (Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, who knows where), we will look back and see just how we have been used by our best friends in the Middle East. With friends like that, who needs enemies.

Another is even more perceptive:

The script for this “plot” was probably hand-delivered direct from AIPAC to Holder. As soon as I heard that, btw, the Israeli embassy was targeted for bombing also, I knew the whole thing was bogus – not that the other inconsistencies and absurdities weren’t enough but this was the giveaway line. Israel must be getting really desperate to think that something as badly concocted as this was going to pass the smell test.

As FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III so aptly put it, the whole thing “reads like the pages of a Hollywood script.”

Maidhc Ó Cathail is an investigative journalist and Middle East analyst.


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