The Uber-Plot: Iran, Mexican Drug Cartels, Koch Brothers, and Republicans

This plot has it all: an informant posing as a member of a Mexican drug cartel, Iranians targeting Saudis in DC’s streets, and even its own “Operation” name already.

FBI and DEA agents have disrupted a plot to commit a “significant terrorist act in the United States” tied to Iran, federal officials told ABC News today.

The officials said the plot included the assassination of the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States, Adel Al-Jubeir, with a bomb and subsequent bomb attacks on the Saudi and Israeli embassies in Washington, D.C.

[snip]

The new case, called Operation Red Coalition, began in May when an Iranian-American from Corpus Christi, Texas, approached a DEA informant seeking the help of a Mexican drug cartel to assassinate the Saudi ambassador, according to counter-terrorism officials.

You couldn’t make up a more convenient plot if you tried!

But I’m going to push it further. As Bloomberg reported last week, the Koch Brothers have illegally traded with Iran, selling them petrochemical equipment Iran needs to keep pumping oil to pay the state’s bills. So doesn’t think make the Koch Brothers accessories to this alleged terrorist plot?

Further, the Koch brothers are dumping big money into Republican causes. So doesn’t that mean the Republican Party is being funded by terrorists?

That’s the way material support laws work, after all, at least if you’re a brown person.

Ah well, I assume everyone will ignore the corporations (which include JP Morgan Chase) that have been doing business with Iran and instead march off towards the next war.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

25 replies
  1. rugger9 says:

    IOKIYAR.

    That’s all it is. The Kochs can finance all of the lawyers they want to drag out the prosecutions until they get their next GOP President. And that will be that.

  2. Arbusto says:

    Why Iran would rely on such a non entity to contact cross border third parties to do what could be done in house is stupid, even wanting cutouts. Surprised they went to ABC, not Fox. Pretty sad state of affairs when our first reaction (second, third) is doubting the Administration, DoJ and DEA veracity.

    Dudley Doright of the Mounties to the rescue.

  3. MadDog says:

    @MadDog: Strange! The criminal complaint doesn’t name the Manhattan-based bank which is funny because while the defendant and Iran knows, “We The People” aren’t allowed to know.

  4. MadDog says:

    @MadDog: Another “curiousity” in the criminal complaint from page 15 comes this:

    “…IV. ARBABISAR’S CONFESSION

    35. Several hours after his arrest, MANSSOR ARBABSIAR a/k/a “Mansour Arbabsiar,” the defendant was advised of his Miranda rights and his right to a speedy presentment. ARBABSIAR agreed to waive those rights and speak with law-enforcement agents…”

    (My Bold)

    So that old Miranda thingie gets delayed for several hours again. One does notice that the US government doesn’t let on whether it was interrogating Arbabsiar during those several hours.

  5. Mary says:

    It’s interesting how vague they are about the Iranian “government” connection – a “faction of” the government and possibly a “high up” official, or maybe QUDs special forces – they all seem to get tossed out in the story. Let’s see – using USspeak – would that be a “few bad apples?” Would the Saudi Ambassador possibly be an “enemy combatant” of Iran, providing material support? Is the US problem with the whole thing that Iran was going to use an old fashioned bomb instead of nifty drone technology? Or is it the fact that, unlike the US concern of only making US citizens a part of the “collateral damage” from bombings of “enemy combatants” these guys had no qualms whatsoever about collateral damage?

    From the article – without a hint of irony:
    “Arbabsiar, a naturalized U.S. citizen, expressed ‘utter disregard for collateral damage’ in the planned bomb attacks in Washington, according to officials. ”

    Yeah – I think he said something like – the world is a battlefield and that’s what you get when you take you children to war.

  6. Mary says:

    OT – but good lord there are a lot of headlines out about the GOP shifting gears and backtracking on their assaults on Occupy Wall Street. I guess Cain and Cantor and Co. suddenly realized that if they kept saying that it was everyone’s own damn fault that they lost their homes and didn’t have jobs – – it would make it harder to keep selling the, “this economy is Obama’s fault” theme. So now they are “kinda sorta” in and from Cantor to Romney everyone is now saying, “golly gosh, I resonate with those guys” instead of “let them eat cake.”

  7. Mary says:

    While the Justice Dept release on the arrests and plots refers, over and over, to alleged plot, alleged confession, etc. and ends with the “innocent until proven guilty” mantra, that isn’t stopping Eric Holder from taking to the airwaves and saying outright that he is going to make sure that Iran is held responsible.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/11/eric-holder-iran-terror-plot_n_1005578.html?ir=World
    “Attorney General Eric Holder said the U.S. would hold Iran accountable” and Preet Bharara (USA,Schumer District of NY) has indicated that the US isn’t, apparently, a battlefield after all.

    “‘We will not let other countries use our soil as their battleground,’ Bharara said at a news conference in Washington with Holder and FBI Director Robert Mueller.”

    Meanwhile, Issa’s noisemaking re: Holder and Fast/Furious gets drowned out.

    While Holder asserts that you have to hold a nation accountable for what its spies and saboteurs do, even if top echelons of the government are left out of the loop.
    “Asked whether the plot was blessed by the top echelons of the Iranian government, Holder said the Justice Department was not making that accusation.”

    I thought you’d never beat the irony of the Bush admin, but I was very very wrong.

  8. DWBartoo says:

    Wow! This is really getting exciting, I can hardly wait for the sequel.

    Isn’t it wonderful good timing that, just the other day, Commander Obama declared that the Banksters, in what is, assuredly, simply the understandable and appropriate pursuit of profit-making “loopholes”, have done nothing “illegal” … so we can take them off our worry-plate or the “table”, and concentrate on those most evil Iranians, even if we do not know precisely who they are …?

    What might be a likely response to a country that cares not a whit about how many Americans it kills? Let’s be honest, doesn’t such a plot as this PROVE, beyond a reasonable doubt, “looking forward”, just how dangerous and desirous of world hegemony these crazed zealots are?

    Enough of this Occupy Wall Street nonsense!

    Let’s go kick some butt!

    (Perhaps in his own inimitable way, BHO is thinking “Mission Accomplished”?)

    Forgive me, all, I’m remain most disgusted and seriously appalled to realize that America, now, has its very own secret team who determine, without ANY “legal” due process, without any real public evidence, merely their say-so, that they may recommend the killing of anyone, anytime, and any where, knowing that those recommendations will be carried out … and even the most ludicrous of bloody mindless and idiotically destructive “snark” seems to be forever overtaken by the seamless continuation of Bush-Cheney Inc. by a gung-ho Obama Co. on both the “domestic” and “foreign”, everywhere, “battlefield” front …

    As you say, EW, a most “convenient plot”, indeed.

    DW

  9. lysias says:

    @Mary: The Republicans’ internal polls must be telling them about a lot of support for the Occupy Wall Streeters among Americans in general.

  10. emptywheel says:

    Just did a post on the complaint. Lots of reasons to think there’s significant bullshit flying here.

  11. par4 says:

    Holder should have thrown in some North Koreans, Russkies, Taliban and the Haqqani network. Then pitch this thing to some B-movie studio.

  12. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    @Mary:

    So now they are “kinda sorta” in and from Cantor to Romney everyone is now saying, “golly gosh, I resonate with those guys” instead of “let them eat cake.”

    Ick. I’m not sure even I can stand the spectacle of that much plastic in the world.
    Ick!

    Excuse me while I go reach for brain bleach…

    ————
    As for the post… something just seems weird.
    It’s all plausible, but it almost seems to tie up too neatly.

  13. Strangely Enough says:

    That’s the way material support laws work, after all, at least if you’re a brown person.

    Or an antiwar activist of any color.

  14. DWBartoo says:

    @readerOfTeaLeaves:

    Why would Iran wish to create ill-will with the Saudi Arabian government, rOTL?

    That simply does not “tie up neatly” … except from the American “perspective”?

    All in all, such a “plot” is simply TOO convenient … and dare I say, very, very timely, as well?

    Making all the secret “encouragement” of such plots not merely “okay” but veddy clever … “too clever”, as skdadl might say, “by half” …

    Just the way this is being “handled”, suggests cynical PR and propaganda intent rather than genuine sleuthful mastery, at least as it “appears” to me.

    DW

  15. GnomeDigest says:

    He’s going to court instead of being whisked away to some blacksite to be tor-excuse me, interrogated? That seems kinda odd. I guess he wouldnt generate much publicity if he were whisked away in secret.

    Then again, if everything he knows was told to him by the FBI, I guess interrogation would be rather redundant.

  16. phil says:

    Seems to me Obama’s exact words were closer to “much of what they [Wall St] did was legal”. Unbelievable!

  17. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    @DWBartoo: It’s my understanding the Saudi’s are primarily Sunni (actually, they’re Wahhabi – a strict sect). Also, they’re Arabs.Wikipedia suggests that I’m correct:
    About 85–90% of Saudis are Sunni, while Shias represent around 10–15% of the Muslim population.

    The Iranians, OTOH, are Persian, and Shia Muslims. Wikipedia offers backup for my claims yet again:
    Religion in Iran is dominated by the Twelver Shia branch of Islam, which is the official state religion and to which about 90% to 95% of Iranians belong. About 4% to 8% of Iranians belong to the Sunni branch of Islam, mainly Kurds and Iran’s Balochi Sunni.

    I kind of think of it roughly like this:
    The Italian Catholics have St Peters, which for centuries was The Center of the Earth and gave the Italians (or, more specifically the Romans) a certain status. Not quite the status of Jerusalem, but status nonetheless.
    Then there are French Catholics, there were German Catholics, there were Spanish Catholics… and then, after the schism there were English ‘Catholics’ who turned into Church of England followers (Anglicans).

    Not to be at all dismissive or disrespectful to Islam, but it’s a pretty huge religion — as is Christian Catholicism. Different forms of the religion, added onto layers of different historical backgrounds and ethnic and cultural histories, make for edgy relations.

    And recall that the Ka’aba in Mecca is in Saudi Arabia.
    Muslims are not required to go on pilgrimmage to anywhere in Iran, as far as I’m aware.
    They are requested to go at least once in their lives to Mecca, to pray at the Ka’aba, IIRC.

    Or so it seems in this case.

  18. S says:

    The blogger has wisely pinpointed the ESSENCE of this nonsense:
    “It all seems very convenient, a kind of Legion of Doom of perceived US enemies rolled into one, attacking perceived US allies on US soil. And they throw in Buenos Aires for good measure…this also appears to be another example of US law enforcement agents sticking themselves into a plot and turning it from something aspirational to something more. We’ve seen this over and over again in the post-9/11 age, and I’m not sure it makes us safer to have DEA or FBI find and pump up low-lifes who had no ability to carry out attacks in the first place.”

    In my opinion this appears to be a BULLSHIT PLOT, most likely orchestrated by Israelis. It seems to have finger prints of Israel all over. They want to destroy the last muslim country capable of some resistance in their goal of stealing Palestine. Israel is getting desperate for diversion because Palestinians, rightfully, want to be recognized and are seeking a vote in the United Nations, Other than the US and a few other countries it managed to coerced, most of the world recognizes that Palestinians are right and Israel is wrong. The best way to prevent Palestinian statehood (and embarrassment to the US for supporting Israel by exercising veto) is to create diversion and disrupt UN vote. Blaming and attaching Iran will be Israel’s ultimate dream come true and, as always, Israel will like to get its dirty work done by puppets in the US Government. Does anyone wonder, how come this same FBI and the justice department could not find a single criminal among American bankers even four years after they destroyed the world economy, made millions of people homeless and brought never ending suffering to hundreds of millions of people?

  19. DWBartoo says:

    @readerOfTeaLeaves:

    That is interesting enough, rOTL, however, in the region of the world we are speaking about, ‘twould be more useful, strategically, for Iran, were the US and the Saudis to become angry with each other. This is so because ANY diminishment of US “influence” is of far greater value to Iran than any religious victory ever could be, given the present circumstances.

    Frankly, as I have said, THIS plot, “uncovered” the way it has been, ballyhooed as it has been, is most beneficial to team You-Ess-Ay … Rah! Rah!

    I appreciate your deeper ponderings, rOTL, but suggest that the far simpler explanation is the more likely … for this new “WAR! with Iran!!!” cry, being spread quite faithfully across the “Homeland” is precisely what the political class needs to defeat both OWS and the rising sentiment for taxing the rich, the opening salvos of “class war” the MOTU fear, believe might occur, and which they and their minions have been weeping, loudly about in public … will simply go away or become mere background noise.

    That is my opinion, YMMV.

    DW

  20. niat holder says:

    The use of mexican drug cartels as operatives in the plot is a givaway of agency involvement (who’d a guessed?).This sounds like another hideously horrible October Surprise, that all the NeoCons'(does that mean con men?)favorite Badguys doing in Bush/Cheney “friends,house of Saud” conveniently doing each other in ,Hey it’s a win-win! Take the Koch-amamie business doings further and surely we’ll find the thread to their unraveling.

Comments are closed.