Drug Sting Breaks Bad

Tuesday, October 18, 2011 8:41 PM

[Taki’s Magazine]

The purported Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the U.S., Adel al-Jubeir, may be no more real than Tehran's hyped nuclear weapons program. At least, that's my view. So relax. I did not buy Dick Cheney's blarney about the threat from Iraq's WMD during the run-up to "Operation Iraqi Freedom" either. Certainly there are other ideas out there, and you are most welcomed to them. I'm not on a crusade to change anybody's mind.

It is a fact that we were conned repeatedly under the Cheney Regency. We are being conned shamelessly again under the Potemkin Village Presidency of Barack Obama when it comes to U.S. foreign policy. It all amounts to warmongering. We are watching a continuation of the same movie. It's the same foreign policy, driven entirely by domestic politics when it comes to the Middle East. This is now self-evident.

The whole murder-for-hire story of last week may actually implode by the time you read this. Skepticism is rampant. Aside from the insufferable, trigger-happy Neocons, who want to bomb Iran yesterday, nobody who knows anything is buying the official version as enunciated by Eric Holder, Barack's Attorney General. Holder is the Washington functionary, you may recall, who arranged for the Mark Rich pardon on the last day of the Bill & Hillary Clinton Administration. 

True, FBI Director Robert Mueller was also at the press conference on October 11th and backstopped Holder's implausible narrative about the alleged plot--"conceived, sponsored and directed from Iran"--to have a Mexican drug cartel kill the Saudi ambassador by blowing up a fashionable Washington restaurant with plastic explosives. But it seems to me that the low-key Mueller and his FBI have lost significant credibility with the airing of The Anthrax Files on PBS. That program appeared coincidently the very same day as Holder's press conference. It's a real eye-opener and is relevant because both cases involve terrorism. 

The used car salesman turned terrorist who is now behind bars is an Iranian American by the name of Mansor Arbabsiar. He became the target in an FBI sting operation. Mansor travelled between Iran and Mexico during the summer supposedly to arrange the hit on the Saudi Ambassador in Washington. Putting aside the apparent lack of any rational motive by Tehran, some important factual details remain unclear in the 21-page indictment filed in New York federal court. 

For instance, how did Mansor first make contact with a leader of Los Zetas, the crazed Mexican drug cartel, who just happened to be a DEA paid informant? Was this sheer happenstance or was Mansor pointed in that direction? Did the business start out as a drug deal and then get sidetracked into an assassination plot? Was Mansor attempting to act as a middleman to sell Opium from Iran to Mexico? 

At what point in the proceedings did the FBI make the hapless Mansor aware that he was involved in a sting operation and that he should cooperate to implicate the alleged co-conspirators in Tehran? The government states that Mansor has already admitted under questioning that he conspired to kill the Saudi Ambassador. If that is so, why has Mansor's lawyer stated that Mansor will plead not guilty if indicted by a grand jury? 

Clearly there is a lot going on here we do not know and are not meant to know. Still, this affair could amount to little more than a vintage case of entrapment à la John DeLorean. It's a real possibility. American officials have admitted that no one was ever in any danger. Tehran has categorically denied any connection to Mansor or to the alleged plot. 

Tehran has demanded consular access to Mansor, a dual-national, in order to question the man. Further, Iran's Foreign Minister announced on Monday that, "We are prepared to examine any issue, even if fabricated, seriously and patiently, and we have called on America to submit to us any information in regard to this scenario." Wouldn't it be great if Washington were capable of sending a special ambassador to Tehran to sort out the matter? 

As of now, it seems to me that the most important question to be answered is, who wired the bank transfer of a hundred thousand dollars as a downpayment for the crime? And from where did the money come? It did not come from Iran. If the wire transfer was for real, it is the only tangible evidence that something was afoot, including the possibility of a false-flag operation to advance a hidden foreign policy agenda. Follow the money.

I am not an investigative reporter but Gareth Porter is. He is based in Washington and writes for Inter Press Service and AsiaTimes online. He has done some important work which is worth scrutiny. Based upon the amended indictment and the FBI report, Porter suggests that the "terror plot" was really a drug sting. Paul Jay, senior editor and CEO of the Real News Network, has interviewed Porter twice. Part 1 is here; Part 2 is here. It is fascinating. What really happened may or may not come out in the wash. What  matters now is whether or not the incident will be utilized as a catalyst for a shooting war.

I say a shooting war, because Washington is already at war with Iran and has been for some time. Economic sanctions are an act of war. The on-going project to demonize and destabilize Iran is long-standing. This is an undeclared, covert war by the lone surviving superpower, whose sole purpose is regime change at any cost.

The war could be ended anytime Washington wants to call it off. But Washington can't call it off, because its politicians are dependent upon making Iran the boogeyman and profiting from the status quo. They are sticking to the playbook which has been handed to them. There is something called the Israel Lobby; the reelection cycle in Washington is 24/7. Aside from that, there is no objective reason for conflict between America and Iran.

--Copyright 2011 Patrick Foy--