The Iran “Plot”: Hillary Tries to Involve the UN

Hillary Clinton has invoked a UN treaty protecting diplomats and country leaders in her effort to turn the absurd Iranian plot into an international incident.

If they were involved in a plot to kill Saudi Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir, that would likely violate the U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Internationally Protected Persons.

[snip]

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a point on Wednesday of noting that Iran had agreed to the U.N. treaty.

“This kind of reckless act undermines international norms and the international system. Iran must be held accountable for its actions,” she said.

The United States has two options if Iran officially rejects the case, including pursuing action at the U.N. Security Council. That was done when Libya refused to hand over two men accused of the Pan Am 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland.

The United States or Saudi Arabia could bring it to the United Nations and argue that “these are very obvious violations and for the Security Council to do nothing in light of this major attempted violation cheapens the words” of the treaty, Kaye said.

Another option, if there is a dispute under the U.N. treaty for protected persons, is that one side can seek an arbitration and ultimately a ruling from the Court of International Justice, located in the Netherlands.

How convenient that this plot would so neatly provide the US and Saudi Arabia opportunity to start demanding the extradition of Qods Force leaders.

But given the Intelligence Community’s acknowledged, though still unexplained role in this plot, and given that the development of a kidnapping plot into an assassination plot (both are covered by the UN treaty) may have happened during conversations where our experienced DEA informant somehow forgot to press the button on his tape recorder, and given that the FBI coached the DEA agent to invent all the details of this plot (including, potentially, its location in DC), shouldn’t Hillary be a little more cautious before she calls for the extradition of those who dreamt up this plot?

It would be terrible if our own people were held accountable for one of the many acts of attempted terrorism they’ve either incited or encouraged, after all.

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.

54 replies
  1. DWBartoo says:

    Hillary Clinton’s “tone”, EW, suggests that she cannot imagine that any legal consequence can ever befall the elite of the United States of this “Homeland”, America. Which “consequence”, of course, includes being brought to justice for, or successfully accused of, committing ANY acts of terrorism. If studied stupidity and haughty hubris were a crime, either domestically or internationally, then the USA’s elite, the neoliberal, neoconish, and neofeudal “best”, would be considered as “par excellence” … and this last “plot”, and the “gravity” of the USA’s “response” also assumes that the people of the USA are equally stupid, as well as gullible, and completely, utterly uniformed.

    As a brief aside, though perhaps, somehow, related, I understand that SCOTUS is now in the process of deciding whether anyone and everyone who is arrested, for anything at all, from jay-walking, to “protesting” injustice, to suspician of murder, may be strip-searched by the police, without any “reasonable suspician”, whatever. The decision is to “come down” sometime this summer, yet the tone and tenor of the questions asked of the attorneys in the case, by members of the Court,suggest that NONE, not one, of the Justices can conceivably imagine that they might ever be arrested and subject to such search.

    Perhaps the “disparity” this society now faces goes well beyond simply that of “income” (and ALL which “that”, most clearly, implies)?

    DW

  2. William Ockham says:

    Propublica added an important detail I hadn’t seen anywhere before:

    Some years ago, Arbabsiar befriended a Corpus Christi, Texas, woman whose nephew he believed to be a member of the Zetas cartel, according to officials. The nephew was actually a confidential DEA informant “with direct access to key leadership elements” of the Zetas and the rival Gulf cartel, according to a U.S. law-enforcement official.

    That fact is significant because a prior relationship between the informant and the used car salesman makes it even more likely that this was all a set-up by the U.S. IC.

  3. orionATL says:

    this matter is moving rapidly from a another petty fbi/cia farce to a potential
    major international embarrassment for team america.

    you would think secretary clinton would be more cautious until the facts are all out.

    what in the world do these folks (obama admin) hope to gain by acting so percipitously?

    affecting palestinian requests for statehood somehow?

    i have a feeling this is going to end badly.

  4. Mary says:

    Let’s see – a government military wing plots to kidnap diplomats – why does that sound so familiar?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._raid_on_the_Iranian_Liaison_Office_in_Arbil

    You have to think, too, that Iran might not have timed the release of the Americaan hikers when it did if it thought it might need any kind of bargaining chip in case things went sideways.

    If Clinton really does throw this up in the UN – it will be interesting to see whether the US drones, Raymond Davis’ killings, kidnap and imprisonment without charges of Iranian diplomats, etc. comes up from any quarter.

  5. MadDog says:

    @emptywheel: We still disagree a bit, but don’t let that (or me) stop you. *g*

    Here’s what I’m taking in from the various “official” US government commentary reported by the MSM (Hillary does indeed come to mind) as well as the postings of sundry Iran “Experts” like Gary Sick.

    Everybody (and I mean everybody! Including you EW, me, the US government folks involved or briefed, the outside foreign policy experts, everybody!) finds this plot to be stupid!

    I got the sense that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from her commentary finds this plot eye-rolling stupid.

    I got the sense that SCSI Chair Senator Diane Feinstein after her briefing yesterday also found this plot eye-rolling stupid.

    Let’s agree then that it was indeed stupid. Stupid baked in stupid gravy and served over a bed of stupid.

    But here’s where you and I EW diverge a bit (uh-oh!). I think the stupid plot was real. I get the sense you think it was all a US scam. I may be misinterpreting your beliefs, and if so, I apologize.

    I agree with you that the Iranians as a whole have never been stupid. And I agree that while still possible (as in that old cliche that everything is possible!), it is most improbable that this stupid plot was blessed at the highest levels of the Iranian government.

    In fact, if we assume that there is a low end to the scale of improbability, a stupid plot like this approved by the Iranian government would definitely hover near or at its very bottom.

    But…the money!

    This, and only this, leads me to believe that this plot was real. Yes, still stupid, but real.

    We don’t know the back-story, and we certainly all have our speculations about it.

    Mine is that some stupid Qods Force “leader” who got his position not because of ruthless and cunning accomplishment, but as a sinecure because he knows somebody or blows somebody or is related to somebody who knows somebody or blows somebody, and this “leader” decides that he’s going to impress everybody worth impressing in Iran’s leadership by taking the initiative and coming up with and running this stupid plot on his own.

    Kidnapping the Saudi Ambassador to the US. That’s even more difficult, and more fookin’ stupid than trying to kill him.

    Having a life-long failure of a used-car salesman Iranian emigré be one’s US-based chief “undercover” operative is stupid-squared.

    Attempting to use a non-vetted, non-trusted, and non-Muslim Mexican drug cartel (and even getting that wrong) as your kidnap/assassination tool is squaring that stupid-squared once again.

    There are many other examples of almost unbelievably stupid acts in this plot. The phone calls to Iran, the frequent trips to Mexico and Iran, etc.

    But again I come back to the money! This is the only thing that says “real” to me. The only thing!

    Stupid, but real!

  6. rugger9 says:

    @orionATL:
    It does have that “line in the sand” feel to it, like Powell’s equally laughable presentation before Shrub’s Iraq war started. If the US expends its credibility on stuff like this, it will have bupkis for when we need it for future run-ins with China and Russia, both of whom have pretensions to rule the world.

  7. rugger9 says:

    @MadDog:
    I forget where, but I saw something on AOL[?] that the money angle may not be as tight as advertised. However, I’d agree that transaction records are as hard to ignore as a mathematical theorem in an argument.

  8. emptywheel says:

    @MadDog: Why would performing the transfer of money be any different than performing calls asking for more money, which we know Arbabsiar did, if not in the early stages, then certainly in the late stages. And–oh look! The purported Iran-based plotters specifically REFUSED to send more money at that point.

    Also note, I’m not entirely convinced this entire thing was a USG plot from about 2 years ago, though I’m increasingly suspecting that to be true. But I think it also possible that some offshoot of the QF were doing this at the behest of some other govt–maybe Afghanistan or whatnot.

    One thing I do know. Last time I heard of a plot this stupid, it was run by the CIA’s Iran spooks.

  9. emptywheel says:

    @MadDog: One more point about the money. We know that “Individual #1–not Shahlai, not Shakuri–transfered money to Arbabsiar.” We know that when asked, Shakuri refused to send more.

  10. Jim White says:

    @Mary: Yes, it also occurred to me that the timing for the release of the hikers doesn’t fit at all with high-level Iranian government figures being involved in the plot.

  11. MadDog says:

    @emptywheel: The stupid argument would also seem to apply the very idea of using Arbabsiar as the US government’s “bait” for the Iranians.

    As we both agree that the Iranians, as a whole, have never been considered stupid in their operations, it seems to follow that they therefore wouldn’t have been stupid enough to buy Arbabsiar’s role as one who could make this plot happen.

    Again, I mean the Iranian leadership. An individual Iranian rogue stupid wannabee “leader” (or two)? Yeah, I could see that.

  12. dugsdale says:

    So, is this “Gulf of Tonkin” 2.0? Is Obama engineering an October Surprise? Inquiring minds want to know.

  13. MadDog says:

    @emptywheel: As I said, the money issue seems to me to be proof of the plot’s reality.

    It does not prove Iranian leadership complicity, and I do not make that claim.

    On the contrary, it wouldn’t be out of character for some rogue stupid Qods Force “leader” with access to a pile of money to use it to establish his “cred” or make his bones.

    I don’t claim that the wire transfer of the money was brilliant; rather, it was stupid. Too trackable, and I agree with you that it was known to be too trackable by anyone with half a brain.

    Instead this seems to buttress the case that a few stupid people, here and in Iran, got together and multiplied the effect of their stupidity.

    Another point that I would make about the suggestion that this was all a US plot is that it’s even too stupid for us.

    Yes, stupid US government folks conceived and ran the deeply stupid ATF Fast and Furious operation, but notice that the top US government leadership folks like Obama and Holder avoid “owning” it like the plague.

    In the case of this Iranian plot, all the leadership folks like Obama, Holder, Clinton, Mueller, etc. have publicly embraced the storyline.

    As in the case with most conspiracy theories, they fall apart the larger the number of folks who would have to be involved.

    Simply put, the larger the number of folks who are knowledgable about a secret, the more likely it is that that secret will leak.

  14. orionATL says:

    mary’s comment at 6 above leads me to wonder whether this iranian
    brohaha may just be an american tit-for-tat for the game the iranians played with the two american hikers.

  15. orionATL says:

    continuing –

    given the wacky nature of the plot, such an effort would make more sense in terms of u.s. officials creating a big public rowe.

  16. Mary says:

    @emptywheel: And of course, Clinton’s appeal gets time with a drone attack in Pakistan
    http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/story/2011-10-13/haqqani-commander-missile-strike/50749440/1?csp=34news
    that kills someone who is only identified as Jalil, who may be related to Sirajuddin Haqqani (they have alreay killed one of his brothers for the crime of letting his brother and co. use a home of his, with no combatant allegetions). Jalil is described as a “coordinator”

    THis is all so much a Bush playback – go on killing sprees in countries around the world, directed by a crew who thought that a German in Macedonia with a squiffy name was a legitimate “target” but then condemn some half-assed nothing as being an Iranian governmental plot justifying some international response. It’s double down with no shame or irony.

  17. Mary says:

    @orionATL: which may have been a tit for tat over the US military kidnap of the Iranian “diplomats”

    And then there’s the so for tatless tit of the Iranian scientists who have been being killed

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/20/us-nuclear-iran-assassinations-idUSTRE78J4IT20110920

    which is why I snarked originally about the SA Amb in a novel being tied into that program – which would *novelistically* tie ends together.

    MadDog – I think some of the issue is what everyone means by “real.” A “real” idiot cousin contact in Iran that a guy here getting pressure from the Feds could exploit to try to put into a plan? I could see that. But the “cooperation” from this guy, who had so much already tied to him, was so damn fast and so extensive re: the calls back to Iran vis a vis a guy they new had the same chance of being extradited to the US as Dick Cheney has of being extradited to Italy – all looks like this guy could have never been “real” but-for his ability to sell his cousin on the plot to get him to send the money. But who knows – I guess we’ll see, except, you know, that so much will be “classified” except, somehow, in this case – suddenly nothing is classified.

    And in addition to the Iran aspect, all of this very conveniently distracts from Issa’s charges of Holder being a liar re: a case involving a DOJ provided weapon used in a murder – not just distracts from it, but ties in the DOJ’s/DEA’s Mexican gang work as being the hero of the piece.

    Who knows, but imo it all has this feel of a story “sold” (like Iraq/911) to a lot of different people via a lot of different interests, but where there is really a concentration of WH interests pulling the strings. BOlstering Holder and Obama comes across to me as the real goal, with the side aspects of getting to make all kinds of allegations against Iran meeting a second tier set of concerns, with the centerpiece still being bolster Obama, bolster Holder. fwiw.

  18. Mary says:

    On the tit for tat front,

    http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/12/iran-experts-ponder-an-alleged-terror-plots-b-movie-qualities/

    while the point is that “a number of prominent American experts on Iran have suggested that Iran’s government might not have been behind the scheme at all” this nyt blog post also quotes Gary Sick (Columbia University’s Middle East Institute) as posting, on his personal blog: “To be sure, Iran has plenty of reasons to be angry at both the United States and Saudi Arabia. They attribute the recent wave of assassinations of physics professors and students, as well as the intrusion of the Stuxnet worm, to the U.S. and Israel. And the king of Saudi Arabia is reliably reported to have called for the U.S. to bomb Iran.”

    And then there’s this: “Hamid Serri, an Iranian-American scholar at Florida International University who also contributes to Mr. Sick’s online forum, suggested another alternate explanation for the plot: that it could have been the work of a non-Iranian intelligence agency or even a terrorist organization with an interest in creating ‘a confrontation that involves the U.S., Iran and Saudi Arabia.’”

    BTW – is Clinton, on behalf of the US going to bring up the SUCCESSFUL assassination in the UAE as well? http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2010/0222/Dubai-assassination-UAE-demands-justice-but-with-what-leverage

  19. MadDog says:

    @Mary:

    “…I think some of the issue is what everyone means by “real.” A “real” idiot cousin contact in Iran that a guy here getting pressure from the Feds could exploit to try to put into a plan? I could see that…”

    I was going to comment on the same scenario. I could find that plausible, but still more than a little improbable.

    If this was a US government con-job on Iran, they would have to have identified some mark in Iran who was all of the following:

    1) Dumb as a stump. A pet rock would have more consciousness.
    2) In a position to unilaterally pony up some relatively big bucks. $100K is not peanuts.
    3) In a position to unilaterally approve a stupid operation that wouldn’t require higher, and much smarter authority.
    4) Would swallow the also dumb as a stump Arbabsiar and his bait.

    Again, plausible I could buy, but still not very probable.

    When you add 2 stupid people together, you don’t get the equivalent of 1 smart person. Instead, you get the equivalent of a person twice as stupid.

  20. MadDog says:

    @rugger9: Yeah, the money is just something I can’t get around. It came (so it is said by the US) from a Qods Force bank account. I don’t know whether the US knew about this Qods Force bank account before or after the money was transferred.

  21. Jim White says:

    Curiouser and curiouser. From Tyler Durden at Zerohedge:

    Iranian Clerics Call For Attacks And Suicide Bombings On Global Saudi Interests

    While it is unclear if the news reported by Shia-News, and amplified by Bahrain News, is in retaliation for the recent deterioration in Iran-US relations following an allegation that Iran sought to assassinate diplomats and blow up embassies in the US using Mexican hitmen, or if this is what led to it, it appears that Iran is playing hard ball. As Bahrain News reports, referencing a new posting in Shia-News, “The Iranian leaders, furious over the Saudi intervention in Bahrain and what they call crimes against the Shiites of that country, have openly created centers to recruit volunteers for suicide bombings against Saudi Arabia’s interests worldwide. Several grand ayatollahs in Iran have issued a fatwa for Muslims to come to the aid of their Shiite brothers in Bahrain, who they claim are suffering horrific crimes from their government in collaboration with the Saudi armed forces. They further emphasized that the people of Bahrain have every right to demand freedom and their fair share from the state. Shia-News, a site associated with Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi (a hard-line Shiite Twelver and an influential figure in the suppression of Iranians during their uprising to protest the fraudulent presidential election of 2009), is registering volunteers to participate in suicide bombings against Saudi interests around the world. Hundreds have already registered. Reports from inside Iran indicate that an alert has gone out to the Revolutionary Guards Quds forces throughout the world to prepare for attacks on Saudi establishments.”

  22. emptywheel says:

    @Jim White: You know they did arrest the hikers’ lawyer the other day, and search his house? There’s still some wacky shit with the release, as well, plus my stated skepticism about some of US claims about them.

  23. orionATL says:

    if the white house has been orchestrating this, it could turn out to be another “shirley sherrod” for them.

    under that circumstance, we would not hear the end of it until nov,2012.

  24. emptywheel says:

    @Mary: Right, that alternative intell agency is one I’ve suggested in my comments.

    But the Sick comment doesn’t support this attack. It simply means it provides motivation for any American silly enough not to think through why an assassination of a diplomat on US soil, having trafficked US CT investigative targets, doesn’t make sense.

    Let’s go back to the Hariri asassination, which was blamed asassinatoin, which got blamed on Hezbollah (AKA Iran), even though credible commenters thought it more likely that the Saudis killed him.

    So let’s take that alternate theory: an asassination of someone sort of like Jubeir in ways that would automatically be blamed on Iran and DID serve to marginalize Iran and Hezbollah.

    But whoever did the asassination, it was plausible. This is not.

  25. MadDog says:

    @MadDog: A further set of thoughts on why I see the money as the crux of my argument, and have had since day one.

    If there isn’t a compelling case that can be made that the money transfer was faked by the US government by either falsely claiming the money came from the Qods Force bank account or that somehow the US government itself was able to surreptitiously technically cause the transfer of the money from the Qods Force bank account, then the money was transferred by some stupid Iranian for the stupid purpose of assassinating the Saudi Ambassador to the US.

    I can’t seem to find a way around this.

    And it really doesn’t matter all that much whether the US conned some stupid Iranians into this action or the Iranian plotters came up with this stupid scheme on their own.

  26. earlofhuntingdon says:

    @emptywheel: While technology has changed, leaving an easily discoverable trail of money transfers is old hat, akin to using airliners as inadvertent flying bombs. It’s a staple of spy novels. It was a principal plot device in Body of Lies, a recent Leonardo De Caprio film with Russell Crowe.

  27. earlofhuntingdon says:

    OT, I recently reread Anatomy of Deceit and would like to say again how effective, prescient and pioneering it proved to be. Thank you.

  28. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I’ll repeat an earlier comment, which is that the risk-return ratio for this “plot” is so high that a government or reasonably talented rogue elements would have to be mad as hatters to have intended to go through with it. The supposed target was enormously high profile and presumably among the most well guarded inhabitants inside the Beltway. The risk of failure was so high as to be laughable. The potential for damage to the Iranian state and its people is enormous, far exceeding the need to replace a single Saudi prince diplomat. It boggles the mind to imagine that anyone with the resources, will and intent to pull off such a caper would consider it worth the bother.

  29. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I would also like to see the SEC numbers on oil and oil futures trades made within 24 hours of the revelation of this supposed plot. It’s the sort of thing one could make 9 or 10 figure sums on, if one had insider knowledge of the event.

  30. emptywheel says:

    @MadDog: MD, What’s your evidence this came fr a Qods Force bank account is? Particularly since it was explicitly laundered through someone who is not in any way alleged to be QF? And since the two transfers came from different foreign entities?

  31. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Apart from the risks to Iran from such a caper, the risks to drug cartels collectively of aiding such a venture would be enormous. The US is already engaged in a heavily-militarized US “anti-drug” war campaign against them. The probable US responses might not shut down a cartel, but it would likely shorten the lives and lower the fortunes of their current senior members.

    The US claims to take this plot seriously. It is pursuing public criminal charges and is orchestrating international responses against Iran. Should we not, then, soon read about massive new assaults against Mexican cartels, the freezing of their US and int’l offshore banking arrangements, the interdiction of major supplies, the arrest or “accidental” deaths of top leaders, and new, newly-resourced diplomatic initiatives with the Mexican government?

    The absence of such moves would suggest the US isn’t taking this form of threat as seriously as it’s telling the public it does. That, in turn, would suggest that orchestrating political support for war against Iran is of greater importance. Must launching a new aggressive war in the Middle East be a fixture of each presidential election cycle?

  32. earlofhuntingdon says:

    @emptywheel: We could probably reach Dick sitting on the Committee to Liberate Iran. Were he bugged without a warrant or arrested and prosecuted, I bet his attempts to revive constitutional civil protections – as well as assertions of executive privilege – would reach biblical proportions.

  33. paul says:

    @DWBartoo:

    I think this is one of the most brilliant comments I’ve seen:

    “As a brief aside, though perhaps, somehow, related, I understand that SCOTUS is now in the process of deciding whether anyone and everyone who is arrested, for anything at all, from jay-walking, to “protesting” injustice, to suspician of murder, may be strip-searched by the police, without any “reasonable suspician”, whatever. The decision is to “come down” sometime this summer, yet the tone and tenor of the questions asked of the attorneys in the case, by members of the Court,suggest that NONE, not one, of the Justices can conceivably imagine that they might ever be arrested and subject to such search.

    Perhaps the “disparity” this society now faces goes well beyond simply that of “income” (and ALL which “that”, most clearly, implies)?”

    Yes, that’s exactly the single most important thing to realize about any and every issue facing us today: that society has now been split into two classes: the super elite and everyone else. What’s great about your comment is that you notice when ‘they’ are admitting what they know to be true about society, when they don’t mean to be admitting it.

  34. earlofhuntingdon says:

    A characterization of the supposed plotter, from sources quoted by Glenzilla:

    He’s described variously as a “scatterbrained, hapless businessman,” “absentminded and shifty.” “a joke” who “was pretty disorganized, always losing things like keys, titles, probably a thousand cellphones,” who “never spoke ill of the United States” and who wasn’t remotely religious — in other words, the pefect target for the FBI to transform into an “operative” by waving money and glory in front of his face, and exactly the kind of person the actual Quds Force would never use for a real plot.

    Those are not the characteristics usually associated with the effective planning and execution of lethal international criminal action involving at least three states, aimed at a heavily-watched and defended target, in the second most highly monitored city in America. (Reportedly, Las Vegas takes the prize, which makes a mockery of its propaganda that “What happens here, stay here.)

  35. paul says:

    This blatantly fake ‘plot’, cooked up by the FBI like so many other faked up ‘terror plots’, would appear to be a major step towards war, whatever else it is.

  36. Mary says:

    @emptywheel 40: It looks like the new theme emerging in places like the LA Times is that “heck, sure FBI and DOJ sources were really really really sceptical, but see – there’s this money trail that tracks back to the Grand Ayatollah …”

    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-iran-plot-20111013,0,1234913.story

    “Though initially skeptical that top Iranian regime figures were behind a plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Washington, U.S. government officials became convinced by the operation’s money trail and now consider it likely that Iran’s supreme leader was aware of the plan.”

    One reason they quit being skeptical is the clearly non-circular reasoning that IF the plan were for real, then it would have HAD (unlike US “few bad apples” torture of detainees and evidence destruction)to have been ok’d by someone like Khamenei.

    From the article, you can see that DiFi got the ok to do some leaking about how sigint and humint are showing there was a chain – Apparently it was a chain that runs east, west, south or north of Tikrit, or, umm, something like that.

    Anyway – the claim being sold is that this is the military spec forces and the cleric, with Ahmadinejad and the Iranian intel out of the loop. And the reason they know this is the case is because … they believe that’s the way it happened.

    “Based on their understanding of how the Quds Force operates, American government experts believe that it is highly likely that the force’s commander, Qassem Suleimani, approved the operation and discussed it with Khamenei.

    They acknowledged, however, that they possessed no proof of that”

    Kind of like, based on the understanding of how Hussein’s WMD program operated …

    Or, better yet, based on the enhanced interrogation of this guy in Egypt, based on our understanding of the training camps for al-Qaeda in Iraq . . .

    Whichever.

    Anyway – everyone is very willing to leak, now, that there WAS all kinds of skepticism but, you know, “Based on their understanding of how the Quds Force operates” they were able to overcome it, bc, ya know, if it really was a real plot then, well if you assume your conclusion, then there’s a way to get there.

  37. Mary says:

    This is also so “Bushian”

    http://www.cnn.com/2011/10/13/world/meast/iran-saudi-plot/index.html

    Obama, bolstering his accusations that “Iran” was behind the plot by pointing to Eric Holder’s allegations: “Obama said Attorney General Eric Holder ‘laid out a very specific set of facts’ and the United States would not have brought the case forward if it weren’t able to back up the allegations.

    ‘We would not be bringing forward a case unless we knew exactly how to support all the allegations that are contained in the indictment,’he said.”

    And yet, when HOlder is being pressed in his presser, Holder is saying that they are NOT alleging that senior Iranian officials knew anything about it all. Argh.

    **As an aside, some stories are saying that Arbabsiar was known by associates (?) to have property back in Iran. A way to generate some money transfers? Or not?

  38. P J Evans says:

    @MadDog:
    I’m wondering if the point of the money transfer was simply to get the money out of Iran and into the US, where Arbabsiar could get it into his account. (Or that was what he may have had in mind. What the person/s on the Iranian end intended may have been something completely different.)

  39. matt carmody says:

    @MadDog: Right, not like there aren’t billions of American dollars missing in the past 21 years that could be used for just such a purpose of this. Ever since Ollie North and his criminal assistants in the Reagan White House solicited private money to subvert the will of congress and the American people, private money has been used to do whatever the hell the cowboys want to do without oversight.

Comments are closed.