CIA Betray Us - betrayal IRAN TERROR PLOT
CIA Agent Michael Scheuer
former CIA analyst Ray McGovern wonders if this is propaganda from David Petraeus's CIA.
By Ray McGovern
Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, in his accustomed role as unofficial surrogate CIA spokesman, has thrown light on how the CIA under its new director, David Petraeus, helped craft the screenplay for this week's White House spy feature: the Iranian-American-used-car-salesman-Mexican-drug-cartel plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the U.S.
In Thursday's column, Ignatius notes that, initially, White House and Justice Department officials found the story "implausible." It was. But the Petraeus team soon leapt to the rescue, reflecting the four-star-general-turned-intelligence-chief's deep-seated animus toward Iran.
CIA Director David Petraeus
Before Ignatius's article, I had seen no one allude to the fact that much about this crime-stopper tale had come from the CIA. In public, the FBI had taken the lead role, presumably because the key informant inside a Mexican drug cartel worked for U.S. law enforcement via the Drug Enforcement Administration.
However, according to Ignatius, "One big reason [top U.S. officials became convinced the plot was real] is that CIA and other intelligence agencies gathered information corroborating the informant's juicy allegations and showing that the plot had support from the top leadership of the elite Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, the covert action arm of the Iranian government."
Ignatius adds that, "It was this intelligence collected in Iran" that swung the balance, but he offers no example of what that intelligence was. He only mentions a recorded telephone call on Oct. 4 between Iranian-American cars salesman Mansour Arbabsiar and his supposed contact in Iran, Gholam Shakuri, allegedly an official in Iran's Quds spy agency.
The call is recounted in the FBI affidavit submitted in support of the criminal charges against Arbabsiar, who is now in U.S. custody, and Shakuri, who is not. But the snippets of that conversation are unclear, discussing what on the surface appears to be a "Chevrolet" car purchase, but which the FBI asserts is code for killing the Saudi ambassador.
Without explaining what other evidence the CIA might have, Ignatius tries to further strengthen the case by knocking down some of the obvious problems with the allegations, such as "why the Iranians would undertake such a risky operation, and with such embarrassingly poor tradecraft."
"But why the use of Mexican drug cartels?" asks Ignatius rhetorically, before adding dutifully: "U.S. officials say that isn't as implausible as it sounds."
But it IS as implausible as it sounds, says every professional intelligence officer I have talked with since the "plot" was somberly announced on Tuesday.
The Old CIA Pros
There used to be real pros in the CIA's operations directorate. One — Ray Close, a longtime CIA Arab specialist and former Chief of Station in Saudi Arabia — told me on Wednesday that we ought to ask ourselves a very simple question:
"If you were an Iranian undercover operative who was under instructions to hire a killer to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador in Washington, D.C., why in HELL would you consider it necessary to explain to a presumed Mexican [expletive deleted] that this murder was planned and would be paid for by a secret organization in Iran?
"Whoever concocted this tale wanted the 'plot' exposed … to precipitate a major crisis in relations between Iran and the United States. Which other government in the Middle East would like nothing better than to see those relations take a big step toward military confrontation?"
If you hesitate in answering, you have not been paying attention. Many have addressed this issue. My last stab at throwing light on the Israel/Iran/U.S. nexus appeared ten days ago in "Israel's Window to Bomb Iran."
Another point on the implausibility meter is: What are the odds that Iran's Quds force would plan an unprecedented attack in the United States, that this crack intelligence agency would trust the operation to a used-car salesman with little or no training in spycraft, that he would turn to his one contact in a Mexican drug cartel who happens to be a DEA informant, and that upon capture the car salesman would immediately confess and implicate senior Iranian officials?
Wouldn't it make more sense to suspect that Arbabsiar might be a double-agent, recruited by some third-party intelligence agency to arrange some shady business deal regarding black-market automobiles, get some ambiguous comments over the phone from an Iranian operative, and then hand the plot to the U.S. government on a silver platter – as a way to heighten tensions between Washington and Teheran?
That said, there are times when even professional spy agencies behave like amateurs. And there's no doubt that the Iranians – like the Israelis, the Saudis and the Americans – can and do carry out assassinations and kidnappings in this brave new world of ours.
Remember, for instance, the case of Islamic cleric Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, who was abducted off the streets of Milan, Italy, on Feb. 17, 2003, and then flown from a U.S. air base to Egypt where he was imprisoned and tortured for a year.
In 2009, Italian prosecutors convicted 23 Americans, mostly CIA operatives, in absentia for the kidnapping after reconstructing the disappearance through their unencrypted cell phone records and their credit card bills at luxury hotels in Milan.
Then, there was the suspected Mossad assassination of Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh at a hotel in Dubai on Jan. 19, 2010, with the hit men seen on hotel video cameras strolling around in tennis outfits and creating an international furor over their use of forged Irish, British, German and French passports.
So one cannot completely rule out that there may conceivably be some substance to the alleged Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador.
And beyond the regional animosities between Saudi Arabia and Iran, there could be a motive – although it has been absent from American press accounts – i.e. retaliation for the assassinations of senior Iranian nuclear scientists and generals over the last couple of years within Iran itself.
But there has been close to zero real evidence coming from the main source of information — officials of the Justice Department, which like the rest of the U.S. government has long since forfeited much claim to credibility.
Petraeus's 'Intelligence' on Iran
The public record also shows that former Gen. Petraeus has long been eager to please the neoconservatives in Washington and their friends in Israel by creating "intelligence" to portray Iran and other target countries in the worst light.
One strange but instructive example comes to mind, a studied, if disingenuous, effort to blame all the troubles in southern Iraq on the "malignant" influence of Iran.
On April 25, 2008, Joint Chiefs Chairman, Adm. Mike Mullen, told reporters that Gen. Petraeus in Baghdad would give a briefing "in the next couple of weeks" providing detailed evidence of "just how far Iran is reaching into Iraq to foment instability." Petraeus's staff alerted U.S. media to a major news event in which captured Iranian arms in Karbala would be displayed and then destroyed.
Oops. Small problem. When American munitions experts went to Karbala to inspect the alleged cache of Iranian weapons, they found nothing that could be credibly linked to Iran.
At that point, adding insult to injury, the Iraqis announced that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had formed his own Cabinet committee to investigate the U.S. claims and attempt to "find tangible information and not information based on speculation." Ouch!
The Teflon-clad Petraeus escaped embarrassment, as the David Ignatiuses of the Fawning Corporate Media (FCM) conveniently forgot all about the promised-then-canceled briefing. U.S. media suppression of this telling episode is just one example of how difficult it is to get unbiased, accurate information on touchy subjects like Iran into the FCM.
As for Attorney General Eric Holder and President Barack Obama, some adult adviser should tell them to quit giving hypocrisy a bad name with their righteous indignation over the thought that no civilized nation would conduct cross-border assassinations.
The Obama administration, like its predecessor, has been dispatching armed drones to distant corners of the globe to kill Islamic militants, including recently U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki for the alleged crime of encouraging violence against Americans.
Holder and Obama have refused to release the Justice Department's legal justification for the targeted murder of al-Awlaki whose "due process" amounted to the President putting al-Awlaki's name on a secret "kill-or-capture" list.
Holder and Obama have also refused to take meaningful action to hold officials of the Bush administration accountable for war crimes even though President George W. Bush has publicly acknowledged authorizing waterboarding and other brutal techniques long regarded as acts of torture.
Who can take at face value the sanctimonious words of an attorney general like Holder who has acquiesced in condoning egregious violations of the Bill of Rights, the U.S. criminal code, and international law — like the International Convention Against Torture?
Were shame not in such short supply in Official Washington these days, one would be amazed that Holder could keep a straight face, accusing these alleged Iranian perpetrators of "violating an international convention."
America's Founders would hold in contempt the Holders and the faux-legal types doing his bidding. The behavior of the past two administrations has been more reminiscent of George III and his sycophants than of James Madison, George Mason, John Jay and George Washington, who gave us the rich legacy of a Constitution, which created a system based on laws not men.
That Constitution and its Bill of Rights have become endangered species at the hands of the craven poachers at "Justice." No less craven are the functionaries leading today's CIA.
What to Watch For
If Petraeus finds it useful politically to conjure up more "evidence" of nefarious Iranian behavior in Iraq and/or Afghanistan, Lebanon or Syria, he will. And if he claims to see signs of ominous Iranian intentions regarding nuclear weapons, watch out.
Honest CIA analysts, like the ones who concluded that Iran had stopped working on a nuclear weapon in late 2003 and had not resumed that work, are in short supply, and most have families to support and mortgages to pay.
Petraeus is quite capable of marginalizing them, or even forcing them to quit. I have watched this happen to a number of intelligence officials under a few of Petraeus's predecessors.
More malleable careerists can be found in any organization, and promoted, so long as they are willing to tell more ominous — if disingenuous — stories that may make more sense to the average American than the latest tale of the Iraninan-American-used-car-salesman-Mexican-drug-cartel-plot.
This can get very dangerous in a hurry. Israel's leaders would require but the flimsiest of nihil obstat to encourage them to provoke hostilities with Iran. Netanyahu and his colleagues would expect the Obamas, Holders, and Petraeuses of this world to be willing to "fix the intelligence and facts" (a la Iraq) to "justify" such an attack.
The Israeli leaders would risk sucking the United States into the kind of war with Iran that, short of a massive commitment of resources or a few tactical nuclear weapons, the U.S. and Israel could almost surely not win. It would be the kind of war that would make Iraq and Afghanistan look like minor skirmishes.
Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He served as an Army infantry/intelligence officer and then a CIA analyst for a total of 30 years, and is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).
The 1/2 pint Leprechaun Petraeus 'brews' his 1st crisis.
now that US citizens are 'open game' for the Pentagon ghouls, yikes!
What I want to know is this: When are Americans going to start demanding proof before they send their sons and daughters off to kill other people's sons and daughters for the benefit of a few war profiteers?
Petraeus involved? Of course. L'il David is one of the creepiest, scariest men on the planet, but D.C. insiders either love or fear him and media foam at the mouth over the prospect of getting to interview him. So is he running for president in 2016? A place on the GOP ticket sooner? Would he run with Hillary in 2012? Would the fact that he has commanded two failed wars hurt his chances? I hope so, but some "patriotic" Americans love military wonks
""If you were an Iranian undercover operative who was under instructions to hire a killer to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador in Washington, D.C., why in HELL would you consider it necessary to explain to a presumed Mexican [expletive deleted] that this murder was planned and would be paid for by a secret organization in Iran?""
COMMENT BY Haudenosaun on October 14, 2011 at 2:01 pm
Excellent piece Mr.McGovern. I had many of the same thoughts when the news broke and I am no CIA analyst. It's all just too convenient to be believed.
Netanyahu has made no secret of his desire to hit Iran and this is a perfect way not only to draw the U.S. into war with Iran, but to actually initiate it.
Diplomacy no longer exists in the world because there is way too much profit to be made in war.
Bob on October 14, 2011 at 2:34 pm
Has everyone forgotten the leaked WikiLeaks files that showed the Saudis' and Isralis requesting the US to attack Iran? I know this is at least a year old but it still fits this phony build-up to War with Iran/
Time to resurrect the WikiLeaks files and post them Nation-wide.
The only thing that fits this situation is "FALSE FLAG"
Petraeus (Betrayus) is a Bilderberg member:
ahmadinejad call 911 suspicious event (inside job), says attack was pretext to invade middle east
Iran Falsely Charged with Fake Terror Plot
October 13th, 2011
by Stephen Lendman
Since Iran's 1979 revolution and US hostage crisis, Washington's been spoiling for a fight. The Carter administration considered invading and seizing its oil fields.
Washington exploited Iran/Iraq tensions and encouraged Saddam Hussein to attack. Earlier Iran's Shah was supported. After 1979, US foreign policy shifted.
The Carter Doctrine pledged Middle East military intervention if US interests were threatened. Reagan escalated Carter policies short of committing US forces in combat. Saddam then got US backing. A decade of war followed. America pretended support for both sides, but mostly gave it to Iraq.
US/Iranian relations remain tense. Washington's sought regime change in Tehran for years. Various confrontational tactics include on and off saber rattling, sanctions, and direct meddling in Iran's internal affairs, perhaps including covert US Special Forces and CIA operatives there causing trouble.
Why not? They do it in dozens of countries globally, using death squads and other destabilizing tactics.
Washington also makes baseless accusations of anti-US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. It calls Tehran a threat to world peace, saying its commercial nuclear program plans nuclear weapons development. Unmentioned is Israel's known arsenal and willingness to use it preemptively.
US media scoundrels regurgitate official lies and suppress vital truths. New York Times writers and commentators play lead roles. The latest alleged plot is laughable on its face. But it's headline news across America, including on The Times' front page, saying "US Accuses Iranians of Plotting to Kill Saudi Envoy."
What's explained sounds more like a bad film plot, saying:
Washington "accused Iranian officials of plotting to murder Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States (Adel al-Jubeir) in a bizarre scheme involving an Iran-American used-car salesman who believed he was hiring assassins from a Mexican drug cartel for $1.5 million."
Also allegedly involved were plans to bomb Israel's Washington embassy and Saudi and Israeli embassies in Argentina.
But there's more, a "side deal" said The Times between Iran's Revolutionary Guard (its elite military unit) and Mexico's Los Zetas drug cartel to smuggle opium from the Middle East to Mexico.
The alleged plans "never progressed," perhaps because there were none, just baseless accusations to further heighten US/Iranian tensions and get hawkish congressional members to call for direct confrontation.
On October 11, Attorney General Eric Holder said:
"Today, the Department of Justice is announcing charges against two people who allegedly attempted to carry out a deadly plot that was directed by factions of the Iranian government to assassinate a foreign ambassador here in the United States."
Accused were Manssor Arbabsair, a naturalized US citizen holding an Iranian passport, and Gholam Shakuri, an Iranian-based member of its Revolutionary Guard Quds Force. On September 29, Arbabsair was arrested. Shakuri is still at large.
"The complaint alleges that this conspiracy was conceived, sponsored and directed from Iran and constitutes a flagrant violation of US and international law...."
Besides charging Arbabsir and Shakuri, Holder also said Washington "is committed to holding Iran accountable for its actions."
Both men are charged with "conspiracy to murder a foreign official, conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction, and conspiracy to commit an act of international terrorism, among other charges."
According to Holder, they met a "confidential informant from the Drug Enforcement Administration" in Mexico last May, posing as a drug cartel member.
The Washington Post said the "confidential DEA source (called "the Mexican") was described in court papers only as a paid informant who was once charged in the United States with a drug offense. The charges were dropped (in return for his) provid(ing) valuable information in a number of (sting) cases...."
Allegedly, Arbasair wired $100,000 to a US bank account "as a down payment for the attempted assassination." Holder also claimed he confessed and provided "other valuable information" with no corroborating evidence to prove what's clearly an Obama administration plot to file bogus charges and heighten tensions with Iran.
In fact, Arbabsiar's lawyer, Sabrina Shroff, said her client will plead not guilty if indicted. Apparently he denies involvement despite Holder claiming he confessed.
Iran's UN ambassador Mohammad Khazaee said his nation is "outraged" about clearly baseless charges. In a strongly worded letter to UN Secretary-General Ban K-moon, he wrote:
Iran "strongly and categorically rejects these fabricated and baseless allegations based on the suspicious claims by an individual."
President Armadinejad's spokesman Ali Akbar Javanfekr said:
"The US government and the CIA have very good experience in making up film scripts....It appears that this new scenario is for diverting the US public opinion from internal crises," suggesting it's connected to diluting ongoing anti-Wall Street protests across America.
Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast called Holder's accusations a "new propaganda campaign" involving a "prefabricated scenario."
Hillary Clinton said Washington is "actively engaged in a very concerted diplomatic outreach to many capitals" to counter Iran's denial. She added that the issue has "potential for international reaction that will further isolate Iran," stopping short of calling for direct action.
Congressional hawks and America's right wing media do it often on their own.
An October 11 Wall Street Journal editorial called the plot "a sobering wake-up call" in America's "war on terror."
"Had it succeeded, (it) arguably (would have been) an act of war....The appalling news needs to be placed in the broader context of Iran's behavior," involving "conspiracy to commit international terrorism....It's past time for US policy toward Iran to reflect the reality of what it is dealing with."
Obama "underscored that the United States believes this plot to be a flagrant violent of US and international law, and reiterated (his) commitment to meet our responsibilities to ensure the security of diplomats serving in our country."
Bill Clinton called the accusations "well-founded."
The extremist right-wing Heritage Foundation's foreign policy director James Carafino called the alleged scheme "a belligerent act against the US (that) as such would call for a proportional military response."
A more sober Stratfor Global Intelligence called the plot "far-fetched." Cautioning against claims against Iran, founder and CEO George Friedman said doing so "involve(s) substantial political risk."
"Iran has been known to carry out preoperational surveillance in the United States, but it has not yet used this intelligence to carry out a high-profile attack."
He added that Iran has nothing to gain from committing a terror attack on US soil and everything to lose.
Former Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs PJ Crowley commented in the London Guardian, calling the alleged plot "far-fetched....(O)n the face of it (it's) so fantastic that it begs a disclaimer....It's unclear how much Iran would stand to gain by sanctioning or supporting this plot."
Former CIA case officer Robert Baer said "the Quds are better than this. It they wanted to come after you, you'd be dead already."
Alireza Nader, Rand Corporation Iran specialist, asked "Why would Iran want to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington? (The plot) would be outside the norm."
Senator Joseph Lieberman (Indep. Dem. CT) called the alleged plot a "profound threat posed by the Iranian regime and the reach of its terrorist activities to American soil."
Senator Saxby Chambliss (R. GA) said "In addition to allegedly sponsoring this plot, Iran has supported and provided weapons for attacks on our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. This has continued far too long with no repercussions."
Rep. Peter King (R. NY) said "Iran's assassination of a foreign diplomat in our country would have violated both US and international law, and represented an act of war."
Rep. Michael McCaul (R. TX) said if true "this would constitute an act of war not only against the Saudis and Israelis but against the United States as well."
Rep. Ted Poe (R. TX) on Fox News called the alleged plot "an act of war against the United States."
A Final Comment
A May 2011 study by New York University's School of Law Center for Human Rights and Global Justice headlined, "Targeted and Entrapped: Manufacturing the 'Homegrown Threat' in the United States."
It discussed what this writer's featured in dozens of past articles on Muslim Americans victimized by false accusations.
It explained how, post-9/11, entrapment by FBI plants led to prosecutions of over 200 individuals on bogus terrorism related charges. Washington highlights them as proof of foiling plots that, in fact, never existed.
Nearly always innocent Muslims are targeted for their faith and ethnicity for political advantage. Major media scoundrels regurgitate official lies, pretending they're accurate accounts of foiled plots.
That none ever succeeded is reason enough to suggest none existed, but media reports leave that unexplained, let alone the implausibility of some charges.
They included blowing up Chicago's Sears Tower, destroying New York landmarks, targeting US soldiers at Fort Dix, NJ, US marines at Quantico, VA, downing National Guard aircraft with stinger missiles, and a Pakistan ambassador's with a surface to air one.
Not a shred of evidence provided proof, just the word of FBI informants well paid to entrap and lie, then get America's media to repeat them without questioning the validity of any charges.
The likelihood that any country, let alone Iran, would plan terror plots on US soil is preposterous on its face. Cui bono is issue one. Clearly, Iran has nothing to gain and everything to lose by plotting what Holder charged.
Yet political Washington and major media scoundrels highlight baseless accusations without demanding clear proof they're true. There is none except for what a DEA agent plant (a former felon) and Holder claim.
It's their word against common sense, suggesting the implausibility of what they charge. It also highlight's iconic radical journalist IF Stone (1907 - 1989) saying:
"All governments are run by liars and nothing they say should be believed."
With his own in Washington in mind, he taught that to young journalism students, suggesting they paste it on their bathroom mirrors so not to forget.
It makes sense, as well as avoiding major media liars and using reliable online sites for real information and analysis.
The Fast and Furious Plot to Occupy Iran
Tehran would have to be terminally foolish to try to snuff out an ambassador on US soil, author says.
By Pepe Escobar
October 13, 2011 "Al-Jazeera" - - No one ever lost money betting on the dull predictability of the US government. Just as Occupy Wall Street is firing imaginations all across the spectrum - piercing the noxious revolving door between government and casino capitalism - Washington brought us all down to earth, sensationally advertising an Iranian cum Mexican cartel terror plot straight out of The Fast and the Furious movie franchise. The potential victim: Adel al-Jubeir, the ambassador in the US of that lovely counter-revolutionary Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
FBI Director Robert Mueller insisted the Iran-masterminded terror plot "reads like the pages of a Hollywood script". It does. And quite a sloppy script at that. Fast and Furious duo Paul Walker/Vin Diesel wouldn't be caught dead near it.
The good guys in this Washington production are the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). In the words of Attorney General Eric Holder, they uncovered "a deadly plot directed by factions of the Iranian government to assassinate a foreign Ambassador on US soil with explosives".
Holder added that the bombing of the Saudi embassy in Washington was also part of the plan. Subsequent spinning amplified that to planned bombings of the Israeli embassy in Washington, as well as the Saudi and Israeli embassies in Buenos Aires.
The Justice Department has peddled quite a murky story - Operation Red Coalition (no, you can't make that stuff up) - centred on one Manssor Arbabsiar, a 56-year-old holding both Iranian and US passports and an Iran-based co-conspirator, Gholam Shakuri, an alleged member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps's (IRGC) Quds Force.
Arbabsiar allegedly had a series of encounters in Mexico with a DEA mole posing as a Mexican drug cartel heavy weight. The Iranian-American seems to have been convinced that the mole was a member of the hardcore Zetas Mexican cartel, and reportedly bragged he was being "directed by high-ranking members of the Iranian government", including a cousin who was "a member of the Iranian army but did not wear a uniform".
On top of it, he told the DEA mole that his Iranian government buddies could come up with "tons of opium" for the Mexican cartel (an Afghan connection, perhaps). Then they discussed a "number of violent missions" complete with Arbabsiar bragging about bombing a packed Washington restaurant used by the Saudi ambassador.
Holder characterised the whole thing as a $1.5m "murder-for-hire" plan. Arbabsiar was arrested only a few days ago, on September 29, at JFK airport in New York. He allegedly confessed, according to the Justice Department. Shakuri for his part is still at large.
Holder was adamant: "The United States is committed to hold Iran accountable for its actions." Yet he stopped short of stating the plot was approved by the highest levels of the Iranian government. So what next? War? Hold your horses; Washington should first think about asking the Chinese if they're willing to foot the bill (the answer will be no).
Predictably, the proverbial torrent of US "officials" came out with guns blazing, spinning everything in sight. An alarmed Pentagon will be increasing surveillance over the Quds Force and "Iran's actions" in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf. Former US ambassadors stated that, "it's an attack on the United States to attack this ambassador". Washington is about to impose even more sanctions against Iran; and Washington is urgently taking the matter to the UN Security Council.
What next? An R2P ("responsibility to protect") resolution ordering NATO to protect every House of Saud minion across the world by bombing Iran into regime change?
Ali Akbar Javanfekr, a spokesman for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, at least introduced a little bit of common sense. "I think the US government is busy fabricating a new scenario and history has shown both the US government and the CIA have a lot of experience in fabricating these scenarios ... I think their goal is to reach the American public. They want to take the public's mind off the serious domestic problems they're facing these days and scare them with fabricated problems outside the country." Iran has not even established yet that these two characters are actually Iranian citizens.
The Iranian government - which prides itself on a logical approach to diplomacy - would have to have been inoculated with a terminal Stuxnet-style foolishness virus to behave in such a counterproductive manner, by targeting a high-profile foreign policy adviser to King Abdullah on American soil. The official Iranian news agency IRNA described the plot as "America's new propaganda scenario" against Iran.
As for the Washington mantra that "Iran has been insinuating itself into many of the struggles in the Middle East", that's undiluted Saudi propaganda. In fact it's the House of Saud who's been conducting the fierce counter-revolution that has smashed any possibility of an Arab Spring in the Persian Gulf - from the invasion and repression of Bahrain to the rash pre-emption of protests inside Saudi Arabia's Shia-dominated eastern provinces.
The whole thing smells like a flimsy pretext for a casus belli. The timing of the announcement couldn't be more suspicious. White House national security advisor Thomas E. Donilon briefed King Abdullah of the plot no less than two weeks ago, in a three-hour meeting in Riyadh. Meanwhile the US government has been carrying not plots, but targeted assassinations of US citizens, as in the Anwar al-Awlaki case.
So why now? Holder is caught in yet another scandal - on whether he told lies regarding Operation Fast and Furious (no, you can't make this stuff up), a federal gun sting through which scores of US weapons ended up in the hands of - here they come again - Mexican drug cartels.
So how to bury Fast and Furious, the economic abyss, the 10 years of war in Afghanistan, the increasing allure of Occupy Wall Street - not to mention the Saudi role in smashing the spirit of the Arab Spring? By uncovering a good ol' al-Qaeda style plot on US soil, on top of it conducted by "evil" Iran. Al-Qaeda and Tehran sharing top billing; not even Cheney and Rumsfeld in their heyday could come up with something like this. Long live GWOT (the global war on terror). And long live the neo-con spirit; remember, real men go to Tehran - and the road starts now.
Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times. His latest book is named Obama Does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).