Nota Bene: Inspired by Quiet Bill’s work in the comment section I’m going to declare this an open/compilation thread for all the news about the Iran-NarcoCartel plot. So, keep adding links in the comment section and we’ll keep this thread close to the top of all posts.
October 14, 2011 Update:
Handful of stories on the Iran-narcocartel plot out today:
The Mexican Quds Dog and his Tail – by Col. Pat Lang. This one is a must read, especially in the context of a former intelligence pro.
Ignatius: CIA Is Involved with the Iran Plot, So It Must Be True! – by Emptywheel.
Framing Wikileaks for the inspiration of the plot – The Daily Beast. Man, this just keeps getting better. Not only does it now include Drug Cartels and Iranians but Wikileaks too! tEh awesome! Two questions: how the fuck do we link Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro to this bad boy too? Hell, why not North Korea as well! As Donald Rumsfeld once said, “Go massive. Sweep it all up. Things related and not.”
Excellent and thought-provoking analysis by Gareth Port: FBI Account of “Terror Plot” Suggests Sting Operation.
Finally, two stories out today reporting on Obama’s promise to punish Iran, here and here. This is really staggering in light of the utter collapse of the trustworthiness of the plot. And it brings to mind “cui bono” as in who benefits from the plot’s publicity, a la the questions from Col. Pat Lang:
The overwhelming likelihood is that this is someone’s “information operation” intended to condition public attitudes for some purpose. The over riding question is that of where the ovens are located in which this confection was baked and who the bakers might be.
Was it the Iranians as a subtle threat of serious action?
Was it the Israelis?
Was it some combination of “rogue” American entities?
More as it develops.
October 13, 2011 Update: Man, oh man is this plot beginning to fall apart. When my hometown paper reports on something like this you know the plot is a total joke.
Key graf from story at San Antonio Express-News:
Neighbors, however, said it had been years since Arbabsiar lived in the stucco house he once shared with his wife on a suburban cul-de-sac. They said it appeared as many as 10 people were living in the house, and lately there had been some signs of suspicious activity: When residents looked for available Wi-Fi networks, names like ”œFBI Van 1” would pop up.
ZOMG! Our FBI is so fucking inept. You have to be kidding me!
Ken “I’ve Never Been To Iran” Pollack writes: Iran’s Covert War Against the United States.
The United States on Tuesday accused Iranian officials of plotting to murder Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States in a bizarre scheme involving an Iranian-American used-car salesman who believed he was hiring assassins from a Mexican drug cartel for $1.5 million.
It’s hard for me to take this seriously. Real hard. It reads far too much like a Tom Clancy novel. Why, it almost includes a renegade Cuban intel officer and chemical weapons! I’m just wondering where the Gaddafi dead-enders are in this? And maybe a Russian and rogue red-Chinese are?
Of course, the 9/11 plot literally stole ideas from Clancy, so it is possible, but what bothers me the most about this plot is a bit more prosaic: Americans are conditioned like Pavlov’s dog when it comes to “terror. It’s a recipe the US government has perfected. Just utter the word “terror” and Americans freak. Once they freak you can pretty much do whatever you want, up to and including marginalizing any questions, even the simplest: “why the fuck would Iran do that? What could Iran possibly gain by doing this?” So yeah, what in the world could Iran possibly gain from this? And what could the Zetas gain? Something like this actually happening would bring hellfire down on the Zetas and the Iranians have critical space to develop their nuclear breakout capacity right now so again: why would they fuck that up?
Addendum: More doubts from Max Fisher at The Atlantic.
And this Glenn Greenwald quote sums my thoughts up nicely as wel: “Nothing negates the claim that Iran is some Grave Threat like the accusation that they were behind this laughable, hapless, inept plot.”
Addendum 2: Gareth Porter in an email asks has more questions:
By the way where is the usual reference to Shi’a terrorists from Latin America associated with Hezbollah who are supposedly available to do
Iran’s bidding, as in the alleged Iranian plot to blow up a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires in 1994 (and the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires two years earlier)?
Update: Juan Cole has a theory that a rogue drug ring in Iran is behind this, to which Lex replies via email:
So Cole believes that Iranian intelligence is too smart to wire sums that would raise red flags, but organizations that regularly move billions of dollars worth of illegal product across international borders and manage to work the revenues from it into legal money streams are dumb enough to wire those sums?
Cole’s knowledge of the drug trade appears to exist in the plane between none and laughable.
Let’s not forget that the Zetas are being squeezed between a gulf cartel alliance and Mexican federal forces. They’re far from their strongest. Does that make them desperate enough? Maybe.
We know that the US has been running covert operations in Iran because we’ve seen the budget for it and heard the hints. Iran gets its opium from a country under US occupation, crawling with an intelligence agency that holds a 60+ year record of drug trade involvement. (If you don’t think the US is happy to see opium/heroin crossing into Iran as a destabilization tool, I’ve got a list of bridges you might like to purchase,) And now we have an Iranian terror plot linked to the Afghan/Iranian drug trade with a bonus play of Mexican cartels centering around a guy who’s happy to help the US and spill the beans.
This is all getting on silly. None of it even passes the smell test.
I’m inclined to agree. It’s all very silly. And I certainly don’t buy Martin Indyk’s nonsense here either.