Scary Iran Plotter Pleads Guilty

Manssor Arbabsiar has reportedly plead guilty to the plot to kill the Saudi Ambassador.

I look for a more detailed description of the plea deal.

But if he has indeed plead guilty we’ll never get the answer to a question I’ve had: whether the government withheld cigarettes from Arbabsiar–who smoked 4 packs a day when he was arrested–until he waived his Miranda rights. He was due in court on Monday to determine whether his confession would be deemed consensual, The hearing would have covered details about his early captivity–including whether he had his glasses to read the waiver and, I suspect, whether the cigarette he had right before he signed it was tied to its signing.

One more note: last we heard, Arbabsiar’s lawyer had submitted a sealed brief responding to a report the head of the High Value Interrogation Group had done while observing Arbabsiar’s interrogations. At least according to the docket, the government has not responded to that brief.

Update: Here’s the plea. He clearly confesses to attempting to assassinate the Ambassador and states that the $100,000 transferred to the US supported that purpose.

Update: According to the AP, Arbabsiar said he only understood about half of what was said in English at his plea hearing. That was another of the complaints Arbabsiar had about his Miranda waivers: that they were presented in English and he didn’t understand all of them. The corrupt doctor for the government claimed his English was fine, even while admitting he sometimes had to ask Arbabsiar to repeat himself.

5 replies
  1. Brindle says:

    Juan Cole sheds light on the Maxwell Smart of terrorism:

    —“I personally do not understand how the corporate media in the US can report the following things about Manssor Arbabsiar and then go on to repeat with a straight face the US government charges that he was part of a high-level Iranian government assassination plot.

    It seems pretty obvious that Arbabsiar is very possibly clinically insane.”

  2. Jeff Kaye says:

    Well, this explains some things I’ve observed happening behind the scenes. I suppose the whole participation of the HIG in this case will be buried. But there are a lot of questions still to be answered. I think it unprecedented, by the way, that someone who ostensibly was doing interrogation research “in the field,” so to speak, then produced a “report” for the prosecution.

    So what was Brandon, a researcher or an interrogator (or interrogation consultant)? What kind of research could ever be trusted that was so biased to begin with, i.e., not objective?

    Some of this stems from the HIG’s dual purpose of being both a research entity, and a mobile expert interrogation team, i.e., an operational entity. Such dual primary tasks cannot be effected without organizational and ethical problems… severe problems.

    But I don’t think we’ve really gotten the full story on the HIG anyway. Nor do we fully understand the kind of connections “experts” like Saathoff really have.

    I asked earlier if anyone at this blog ever heard of a court ordering a psychological postmortem exam, as Saathoff says he was so ordered in the case of Bruce Ivins by U.S. District Court for D.C. Judge Royce C. Lamberth. Does no one here really know the answer to that? Such deficit of knowledge itself in this instance speaks to the uniqueness of the Saatoff-Lamberth-Ivins report.

    As for Manssor, he had two major mental health figures, one of the them the chief editor of the DSM-IV, the most expert of the expert psychiatrists one could have, testify to his mental illness and questioning thereby his ability to both confess and to waive Miranda rights. But that must mean nothing when faced with the hack work of Saathoff and the spook assessment of Chief of Research for the HIG (not for the whole HIG, so far as I know), Susan Brandon.

    Nothing remains behind closed doors forever.

  3. KWinIA says:

    Jeff, I’ve googled HIG and everything comes back as Human Interface Guidelines or Hartford Investment Group or somesuch. I figure it must be some kind of interogation group, but don’t think the H should be Human as what else would you interogate. What does HIG actually stand for?

    Update: I follwed your link to FDL and discovered that HIG stands for High Value Detainee Interrogation Group. Apparently, the government doesn’t care to use the initials VD.

  4. OrionATL says:

    ew –

    a little clean up here would be appreciated.

    some months ago, arbabsiar was, possibly, a smuggler nabbed and forced to co-operate with u.s. gov’t agents.

    now, in october, it’s just cut-and-dried arbabsiar was paid 100k to off the saudi ambassador. no other details.

    what happened to your story line, pursued over several columns?

    were you waved, or scared off of, this case?

    it would be understandable, and informative, if that were the case.

  5. Hi V says:

    Hope Jeff Kaye will be doing a column on the “dual tasks” and “ethical problems” presented thereby.

    Clearly, if I’m understanding his comments correctly, research and interrogation should be separate goals.

    If not, well, it’s just pain infliction, isn’t it?

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