Scandalous anti-Iran allegations by US fail to stick

Developing Just Leadership

Tahir Mahmoud

Dhu al-Hijjah 05, 1432 2011-11-01

News & Analysis

by Tahir Mahmoud (News & Analysis, Crescent International Vol. 40, No. 9, Dhu al-Hijjah, 1432)

Only the demented minds of American officials could concoct a story of the alleged plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to Washington, Adel al-Jubeir. In making this scandalous allegation on October 11, US Attorney General Eric Holder and FBI Director Robert Mueller looked shifty and visibly uncomfortable.

Only the demented minds of American officials could concoct a story of the alleged plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to Washington, Adel al-Jubeir. In making this scandalous allegation on October 11, US Attorney General Eric Holder and FBI Director Robert Mueller looked shifty and visibly uncomfortable. They could hardly make eye contact with television cameras as they churned out a litany of lies. Mueller even blurted out that the plot sounded like a Hollywood script. That was the only truth uttered by the two men that day. Not surprisingly, many American commentators rubbished the allegations calling them bizarre.

Let us state the allegations made by the US. Holder alleged that one Mansour Arbabsiar, an Iranian-American used car salesman from Corpus Christi, Texas, had planned to hire a Mexican drug cartel member for $1.5 million to kill the Saudi ambassador. The alleged plan also included paying the cartel, Los Zetas, to bomb the Israeli Embassy in Washington and the Saudi and Israeli Embassies in Argentina. The Mexican drug cartel member, an undercover Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) informant for several years, thus entrapped Arbabsiar who also allegedly boasted that his cousin, one Ghulam Hussain Shakuri was a senior member of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force that was willing to supply drugs to the cartel. The US has further alleged that Arbabsiar wire transferred $100,000 from a “bank account” in Tehran that was traced to the Quds Force. Washington has not named the bank but the fact is Iranian banks cannot make such transactions because of US sanctions.

Arbabsiar was arrested at New York’s John F. Kennedy airport as he returned from Mexico on September 29. Holder further alleged at the October 11 press conference that the plot was “directed and approved by elements of the Iranian government and, specifically, senior members of the Quds Force.” He added: “…high-up officials in those agencies, which is an integral part of the Iranian government, were responsible for this plot.”

While this theatrical drama was unfolding, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also chimed in with her own threats that the Iranians would be made to pay for this. In an interview with the Associated Press, she asked: “The idea that they would attempt to go to a Mexican drug cartel to solicit murder-for-hire to kill the Saudi ambassador, nobody could make that up, right?” That is precisely the question a large number of Americans are asking. “It’s so outside their [Iranians’] normal track of activity,” said a senior law enforcement official who had been involved in the investigation and would speak only on the condition of anonymity. “It’s a rogue plan or they’re using very different tactics. We just don’t know.” Other experts are puzzled by the plot’s lack of sophistication, something uncharacteristic of the Quds Force. If it was really involved, why would it leave clues and footprints everywhere unless there was someone — the FBI, DEA or Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency — trying to frame it?

At her age, Madam Clinton is clearly suffering from dementia otherwise she would not assert so boldly, “nobody could make that up.” Of course they could and have done so. The Americans are compulsive liars. For decades, they have lied to their own people. Two examples will suffice, both related to Iraq. From August 2002 to March 2003, American officials and the corporate media alleged that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction despite UN inspectors’ repeatedly saying they had found no evidence. Iraq was attacked based on this fantastic lie resulting in the murder of 1.5 million innocent Iraqis and the destruction of the country’s infrastructure. Twelve years earlier, in October 1990, a similar lie was peddled through a 14-year-old teary-eyed Nayyirah in her “testimony” before US Congress. She alleged that Iraqi troops had thrown babies out of incubators and left them to die on the Kuwaiti hospital floor while the incubators were hauled away to Iraq. While known to members of Congress and the media that Nayyirah was the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to Washington and was not in Kuwait when the alleged incident occurred, this fact was not revealed to the public. Instead, Nayyirah’s “testimony” was used by President George Bush Sr. to attack Iraq. The incubator story was a complete fabrication, product of the fertile imagination of the PR firm, Hill and Knowlton, hired by the Kuwaiti government to prepare American public opinion for an attack on Iraq.

Are the US allegations against Iran any different now? Before analyzing them, let us consider Iran’s response. Immediately after Holder’s allegation, Iran’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Mohammad Khazaee, sent a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon saying Tehran was “outraged” by the allegations. He said Iran “strongly and categorically rejects these fabricated and baseless allegations, based on the suspicious claims by an individual.” The Rahbar, Imam Sayyid ‘Ali Khamenei, speaking to university professors and students in Kermanshah Province on October 16 said: “If any American officials entertain delusions, they should know that any improper action, whether political or security related, will meet a decisive response from the Iranian people.” The Rahbar also pointed to the support the Occupy Wall Street Movement had received from people in 80 countries for which the US officials had no answer, hence their desperate attempt to divert attention. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad was equally emphatic in dismissing the allegation while Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani described it as a “childish game.”

The US allegation received a serious blow when a senior official of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), one of the top most intelligence agencies in the world, revealed that the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad had provided the man involved in the alleged assassination plot with forged documents. “The accused man [Mansour Arbabsiar] received fake identification documents from Mossad three months ago,” the Pakistani Urdu-language Ummat Daily quoted the unnamed ISI officer.

Concurrently, the British daily, The Independent revealed the murky dealings of Adam Werritty on behalf of the now-disgraced British Defence Secretary Liam Fox. Werritty acted as Fox’s unofficial “chief of staff”. Despite their huge age difference (20 years), the two men are very close; Werritty was best man at Fox’s wedding and his former flat mate who accompanied him on numerous official visits and virtually made all his decisions. He even held top level meetings on behalf of the British minister. Things went wrong when it became known that Werritty had arranged a meeting between Fox and senior Mossad operatives at a security conference in Herzliya (near Tel Aviv) last February, where they discussed plans to overthrow the Iranian “regime”. Werritty was believed to have regularly met Iranian anti-government groups, Israeli operatives and right-wing US groups bent on destabilizing and thus overthrowing the Islamic government in Iran.

Werritty had on numerous occasions also traveled to Iran and secretly met with Iranian opposition groups to plot the overthrow of the Islamic government. The British secret service, MI6 was part of this diabolical plot while Werritty’s funding came from the British Israel Communications Research Center (Bicom), a London-based front for Mossad.

Shakuri, it has now been revealed is a member of the notorious US-backed terrorist outfit, the Mujahideen-e Khalq Organization (MKO). Although the MKO has been designated by the US State Department as a terrorist organization since 1997, it maintains an office in Washington DC a few blocks from the White House. Shakuri has traveled to several countries using fake identification supplied by Mossad, including forged Iranian passports. He has even traveled on an American passport (number K10295631) issued on November 30, 2006 in Washington, DC.

Michael Rubin, a resident scholar at the pro-zionist American Enterprise Institute, wrote in Commentary (a well-known Zionist magazine) quoting Iran’s Persian Mehr News Agency and Press TV English that the plot was concocted by the MKO. This outfit has indulged in similar fabrications in the past. While on the US State Department list of terrorist organizations, the MKO is still protected by US troops in Iraq. Further, about 100 US senators are its proud sponsors.

Iran experts expressed astonishment at both the apparently clumsy tradecraft and the uncertain goal of the intended mayhem on US soil. When asked why Iran would want to carry out such an attack, Holder had no answer. The correct answer is there was no plot. It was all manufactured by the US to divert attention from its own domestic problems. Rasool Nafisi, an Iranian-American scholar who studies the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, said he thought it unlikely that the plot was approved at a high level by Iranian officials. “It’s not typical of the Quds Force or the IRGC to operate in the US,” Nafisi, no supporter of the revolution, said. He thought Iran would not want to risk US retaliation.

Others experts, especially in the Muslim East, have been equally dismissive of American claims. “I am not convinced that Iran would attempt to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in the US. There is no political use to it,” said Mohammed Qadri Saeed, strategic expert at Cairo’s al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies. Michel Naufal, foreign editor of Lebanon’s al-Mustaqbal newspaper, said he had doubts about the timing of the charges if the United States had been aware of a plot for months. “Why now? Obama was told in June,” he said.

White House officials said President Obama had called the Saudi ambassador after the allegations were publicly aired to express solidarity, saying the president “underscored that the United States believes this plot to be a flagrant violation of US and international law, and reiterated our commitment to meet our responsibilities to ensure the security of diplomats serving in our country.” Obama’s allusion to international law is interesting. Both prior to this plot and since its revelation, the US has been involved in brazen violation of international law. On September 30, the US murdered the US-born citizen Anwar al-Awlaki, in Yemen through a drone strike. On October 20, Awlaki’s 16-year-old son was murdered by another missile fired from a US drone. The son, born in Denver, has never been accused of any terrorist activity. Since 2006, US drone attacks have also murdered thousands of Pakistani civilians the latest of which occurred within days of US allegations against Iran.

While there is competition between Iran and Saudi Arabia for influence in the region, the allegation that Iran would want to kill the Saudi ambassador Adel al-Jubeir in Washington, DC is bizarre. If someone wanted to knock down an elephant (Saudi Arabia), would it make sense to kill the mouse clinging to its tail? Jubeir is not a member of the royal family and a minor figure in the Saudi hierarchy. There are far more enticing targets among the Saudi royals that can be eliminated. People like Bandar bin Sultan and al-Waleed bin Talal have life memberships in the gambling casinos, nightclubs and brothels around the world. It would be easy to knock them off while they are visiting these joints. Waleed bin Talal is currently facing a rape charge in Spain (see Crescent International, 10-2011).

Nor has any American official been able to explain what Iranian purpose would be served by killing al-Jubeir? There are plenty of reasons why American officials would concoct such a plot. In addition to the Obama administration diverting attention from the Occupy Wall Street Movement that has erupted over the elites’ plunder of resources while ordinary Americans face severe economic hardships, Attorney General Holder was also due to appear before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. It was known that committee chairman Darrell Issa (a Republican from California) was about to issue a subpoena to Holder and other Justice Department officials over the agency’s controversial gun-trafficking operation, dubbed “Operation Fast And Furious.” What better way to divert attention by accusing a foreign government of planning “terrorist” acts on US soil? It would be highly inappropriate to distract Attorney General Holder’s attention from “protecting” the American people by issuing him a subpoena at this time.

“Top Justice Department officials, including Attorney General Holder, know more about Operation Fast and Furious than they have publicly acknowledged,” said Issa in a statement. The subpoena asks for communications between Holder and DoJ officials. Issa has already issued a subpoena for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). The operation, which began in November 2009, watched “straw buyers” of guns in US border states hand over guns to middlemen who, in turn, transferred the guns to Mexican drug cartels. However, ATF agents let over 2,000 guns “walk,” and the guns ended up at crime scenes on both sides of the border, including one where Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was murdered.

Holder testified in May that he had known about the program for only a few weeks, while Republicans say that memos show he knew of the program as early as July 2010. He insists his testimony was truthful and accurate. Holder said he had been briefed on the program, like dozens of others, but did not know of the more controversial aspects. “Prior to early 2011, I certainly never knew about the tactics employed in the operation,” he said. After Republican House member from Arizona Paul Gosar suggested he was an “accessory to murder,” Holder responded: “such irresponsible and inflammatory rhetoric must be repudiated in the strongest possible terms.”

Perhaps attention can be diverted from these uncomfortable truths and the economic disaster and political crisis facing the US by indulging in equally irresponsible and inflammatory rhetoric against Iran. Enter the failed car salesman to be used as a bogeyman to scare the American people into toeing the official line. It seems most Americans are not buying it any more. Is it the case of the shepherd crying “wolf” once too often?

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