Wednesday, 12 October 2011

A most timely conspiracy

Here’s an excellent reason not to believe everything we’re being told about the Great Iranian Plot to Blow Up Washington:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration plans to leverage charges that Iran plotted to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States into a new global campaign to isolate the Islamic republic.

The fit is too neat. Maybe there was such a plot to kill the Saudi ambassador and slaughter a few random diners, and maybe somebody from Iran was involved. But, I’m sorry, the government that brought us the weapons-of-mass-destruction-that-never-were and caused a horrific war with that package of lies shoulders a very, very heavy burden of proof. We don’t believe what they say just because they say it.

Early commentators point out the gross amateurishness of the affair, starting with the use of an alert-triggering $100,000 bank transfer when spy agencies know to use cash instead. There will be more details today, and they should be interesting. But let us also note that the U.S. security services are now heavily engaged, as a matter of policy, in targeting supposed national enemies and generating plots to ensnare them.

A fascinating piece in a recent New York magazine [searching for link, stay tuned] outlined how it’s done: you infiltrate a mosque or a social club of the target ethnicity, talk about how much you hate U.S. policy in Israel or Afghanistan and then encourage whomever takes the bait to start planning a terrorist attack. Once you have a taker, you nurse the plot along, provide arms or money, record and videotape everything, and then bust the sap. The article cites law enforcement sources arguing that this procedure is necessary to pro-actively prevent terrorism even though the plots might never have come to fruition without the role of the security agency charged with frustrating them.

The wisdom and prudence of this policy is open to debate, but it seems entirely relevant when plots appear such as the Iranian Restaurant Caper that seamlessly dovetail with the long-term aims of U.S. foreign policy, especially with presidential election season approaching. Just two weeks ago we learned that the Obama Administration had provided Israel with several dozen 5,000-pound ‘bunker buster’ bombs that could be used to strike Iranian nuclear facilities. The transfer occurred in 2009, but the leak is recent—could we be seeing the beginning of a propaganda campaign to justify a new act of war? If so, the assassination plot is a godsend—or perhaps Zeus is a CIA asset.

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