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13 October 2011

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JustPlainDave

The execution here is so at odds with competent practice that I rather wonder whether this wasn't intended to be burned. Worth thinking about what factions within the rough and tumble of Iranian political competition might a) be particularly empowered by isolation and b) might also think that the likely reaction from America would not go to something they couldn't weather. Seems to be something of a nostalgia on the part of the generation that went through the consolidation of power in the immediate aftermath of the revolution - some of them doubtless remember how useful the hostage crisis was.

Cujo359

If someone were to make me hazard a guess, I'd have to go with it was the FBI's idea. I'm old enough to remember the 1960s, and back then you knew who the FBI informant was when he was the first one to throw a rock.

But, since I'm not an expert in these sorts of things, I suppose I should try to play Devil's Advocate instead: Yes, Wiley Coyote probably could have come up with a better plan than this, but isn't it possible that someone higher up the Iranian food chain ordered it?

Phil Giraldi

Colonel, I have been going back and forth on this for two days now and more or less agree with you that it is a disinformation operation, though I am not at all sure who might have been behind it. I am trying hard to convince the media and others that just because an operation is idiotic it does not mean that someone did not try to do it - I certainly saw ops during my time in CIA that were just as dumb as this one, sometimes worse. I would think it all to be a fraud or misdirection but I have problems with two reported elements of the operation: (1) the $100,000, where did it come from and how was it sent since Iranian banks have been pretty much shut down, and (2)the US claims to have actual telephone recordings linking the suspect to known Pasdaran in the planning of this. If the evidence that Iran is the source of the money and that senior Quds personnel were involved is unambiguously there, then the Iranians at some level were involved, though for reasons that are not clear to me. But does that mean the top levels of the Iranian government were in the loop - I don't know and would have to doubt it. The Iranians had no obvious motive to do this. It could only make their situation vis-a-vis the rest of the world worse and would invite massive retaliation. The Israelis have a strong motive but I cannot imagine that they had the resources to pull this off. That leaves a US conspiracy to make this happen, enabled by the DEA informant who was involved in the process for at least the past six months. So, as honestlydave suggests, was it an operation intended to be exposed? Could be, but by whom and why? I would be very interested to learn what your other commenters think.

Joseph Perez

I'm with the Colonel that this is an operation to prepare the U.S. public for upcoming action - laying the groundwork. Obama has been in a pickle; holding back Isreal because an isreali attack on Iran would draw us in, and the american public does not want yet another war - and a war with Iran would sink what's left of our economy; but he also needs to shore up his credentials with the isreal lobby before the election. But now he doesn't need to hold Isreal back, and when the wider war comes, he can say that the Iranians picked this fight. It's pretty weak, but hey, we invaded Iraq on even less "evidence." Of course, the administration may come to realize that war with Iran is going to be excruciatingly painful for us, decide in the end it's not worth it, the whole thing blows over, and we + our allies put Iran on double-secret-probation.

FB Ali

From the facts on record it appears that the main accused, Arbabsiar, was into drug dealing, and got in touch with another drug dealer in Mexico, who happened to be a DEA informant. When the latter reported this contact with this idiot Iranian, someone in DEA tried to have the Iranian entrapped in a crazy assassination plot. When the Iranian fell for it, the matter was transferred by DEA, probably to the FBI (they have gotten quite good at running crackpot plots).

At some point someone in the administration got wind of it, and decided to use it for political purposes. I am amazed at how the highest levels of the administration are involving themselves in trying to give this plot credibility, even though it stinks to high heaven.

There is either incredible stupidity or incredible desperation behind this effort to link it to the Iranian government. The only connection is one or more taped phone calls that Arbabsiar made to his co-accused, Shakuri, in Iran. He is claimed to be a lowly official in the Quds force (it is unclear what evidence there is for that). Even if he is, it is unbelievable that that highly professional force would get itself involved in something so cockeyed.

While I would not rule out stupidity as the cause for Obama hitching his credibility to this childish plot, it may be desperation. If so, what is he so desperate about?

bth

So one question on my mind is why now?

The Twisted Genius

It's become fairly common for the FBI to devise and nurture their own terrorist plots once they are presented with a malleable subject. However, this may not be all that's going on in this case. My guess is that some entity is playing the FBI at its own game. I have no insight into who that entity is, but I doubt it is the Iranians.

E L

Since the "plot" seems designed to be discovered, I would say the hardline Iranian expatriate opposition would think that they could profit the most from the discovery of an Iranian plot and the resulting amped-up US desire to damage Iran.

RE

does the house of saud have a succession plan yet?

Fred

So are they playing the public, the FBi or just Obama?
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/14/us/obama-calls-for-iran-sanctions-following-alleged-plot.html

At least the President of South Korea says something intelligent.

Anna-Marina

How can we bring to a common denominator this incredible story of a hapless used car salesman and the data on the mighty US homeland security complex? The dissonance is unbearable.
* In Washington and the surrounding area, 33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work are under construction or have been built since September 2001. Together they occupy the equivalent of almost three Pentagons or 22 U.S. Capitol buildings - about 17 million square feet of space.
* Many security and intelligence agencies do the same work, creating redundancy and waste. For example, 51 federal organizations and military commands, operating in 15 U.S. cities, track the flow of money to and from terrorist networks.
* Some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States.
* An estimated 854,000 people, nearly 1.5 times as many people as live in Washington, D.C., hold top-secret security clearances.
(The data is for 2010, from http://projects.washingtonpost.com/top-secret-america/articles/a-hidden-world-growing-beyond-control/

J

Colonel, Phil, TTG,

As I look at this fiasco, it appears that 'timing' is everything (a.k.a. laying the groundwork for an Iran strike).

Are we sure that this one wasn't hatched at the Metropolitan Opera? How many scenes and acts are we going to have to contend with?

graywolf

Someone wants to provoke the US into taking aggressive action against Iran.
Who benefits the most from that?
Israel?
Iranian ex-pats?
Saudi Arabia?
A rogue element in Iranian government?

Can't see the FBI orchestrating this;they're gumshoes, not spies.

turcopolier

greywolf

you are behind the times. pl

JustPlainDave

Knowing what we think we know about the nature of decision making in the Iranian political sphere (very fluid, contested and situational), does the notion of "the Iranians" as a whole having or not having a motive have any significant interpretive potential? Given recent experience regarding the limitations of American power (e.g., the EFP distribution nets they ran into Iraq and the comparative lack of direct reprisal), I could well see some adventurous folks not being very fearful of what they thought the consequences might be. Given that increased isolation measures are now very predictable as the American response (provided a threshold of provocation isn't crossed), is there any identifiable part of the Iranian political sphere that might reasonably be able to turn this to their advantage?

Marcus

Wow! Someone of your knowledge is suggesting this may be home brew? This is disturbing.

"So one question on my mind is why now?"

Election season? They could not (American security agencies) actually think a war with Iran would be a good idea. Would they?

You would usually throw Mosad in there, but they're supposed to be smart, right? Unless this was meant to fail and any hapless sap will do.

Tony C.

Marcy Wheeler has been all over this, and her most recent post is quite interesting...

http://www.emptywheel.net/2011/10/13/gaps-in-the-iran-plot-docket-to-go-along-with-the-gaps-in-the-story/

Farmer Don

This has fallen from the news already.
No one believes it
No one cares about it.
Every one is incredibly cynical about wars and involvement in the Middle East.

The Twisted Genius

MEK or Jundallah could have provided the necessary Iranian authenticity to make this charade believable. I could write a screenplay in which a CIA element working with Jundallah orchestrates the manipulation of a loser car salesman by an unwitting DEA and FBI. The offer of heroin to a Mexican drug cartel and the transfer of a measly $100K would be interesting subplots. CIA running a dangle operation against the DEA and FBI... that's cinematic gold. Just need some hot bad girl hacker chick to blow the lid off the whole conspiracy to make this a academy award winning blockbuster.

Pirouz

Wow Colonel, you have me returning to my original hunch: MEK.

Further details are needed. The actual details of the wire transfer, comm recordings, informant tapes, interrogation tapes, etc.

Sen. Feinstein is now claiming signal intercepts and other intelligence confirmation but no details have been provided.

And DOS is claiming they are in direct contact with Iran, something I suspected might take place when IRIG summoned the Swiss envoy yesterday.

turcopolier

TTG

And... the money was wire transferred to an FBI account where it could be recycled. pl

Jake

scary...just scary.....

Medicine Man

Col: Could it be foreign counter-intelligence?

US intelligence agencies being told what they want to hear for some purpose?

Cal

If I were writing the script I would go with the Israelis.

The sting guy who brought forth the said terrier was in fact a "paid informant", not a FBI agent according to the complaint filed by Justice. The "paid informant" who had all the contact with the US Iranian had had drug charges against him dropped in return for performing service for the FBI.

So my story would be, the paid informant for the FBI was in fact also paid by the zionist to scout up some sucker
to set up for this 'attack on America by Iran".

The Israelis are stupid and simple minded, but not so stupid as to think Americans are in any mood for a war with Iran in Israel's behalf so they had to set up a deal where it looked like Iran was threatening the US on US soil.

Well it certainly got President Pussy and the State Dept. and Justice and congress, who just cranked out yet another resolution against Iran, and the Heritage and the media and all the presidential candidates calling for an attack on Iran for this horrible almost deed.

Fasten your seat belts...it's Curveball, yellow cake, Leeden, Feith, ice creme trucks carrying chemical weapons, stove piping and disinfo all over again.

The only good that might come out of the coming war on Iran is it might finally get rid of Israel, the US Israel firsters...and hopefuly most of Washington.

Cal

BTW, here the Justice's complaint.

http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/page/us-complaint-alleged-iran-directed-terror-plot-12108635

I see no evidence pointing to Iran 'gov' involvement.
I do see why defense attorney's would be tickled to death to take this case particulary in light of the 'paid informant', refered to as C-1, being the sole contact with plotter.

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