The Fall Guy Fake Iranian terror plot wouldn’t convince a child

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by Justin Raimondo

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The setup and railroading of Mansoor Arbabsiar, a mentally ill Iranian emigrant, in the alleged u201Cterror plotu201D to kill the Saudi ambassador was completed last week when he entered a guilty plea. The 57-year-old Iranian-American, a naturalized citizen, was charged with plotting to bomb the Caf Milano, in Washington DC, a favorite haunt of diplomats and other bigwigs. Faced with a possible life sentence, Arbabsiar, a former used car salesman, made his last deal: a 25-year sentence in return for a propaganda victory for the Israel lobby.

The facts of this case will never be known: no trial means no evidence will be presented purportedly u201Cprovingu201D his guilt. What we do know is that in the spring of 2011 – just as the war propaganda targeting Iran was reaching a fever pitch – Arbabsiar met with a DEA drug informant posing as a member of a Mexican drug cartel.

Of course, it was just a u201Ccoincidenceu201D that he chose this particular person as his contact – or was it? According to ABC News, the delusional Arbabsiar told a court appointed psychiatrist:

u201C'I have had so many girls. So many that you couldn’t count them. I never had one girl more than once…. Girls love money and cars. That was my weakness.'

u201CIt was, in fact, one of these women who put Arbabsiar in touch with a man in May 2011 who said he was a member of the Mexican drug gang Los Zetas. Arbabsiar went on to ask this cartel associate – actually a Drug Enforcement Agency informant – to kill the ambassador of Saudi Arabia in Washington D.C. using explosives.u201D

Oh please – if that doesn't smell like a set-up, then your nose is on backwards. Here is an informant, who has had drug charges dropped in return for his cooperation, and who is being paid to provide u201Cintelligenceu201D to law enforcement, clearly entrapping Arbabsiar.

The complaint, by the way, never quotes Arbabsiar as explicitly saying he wanted to carry out an assassination: this was no doubt suggested by the informant, who says the deluded car dealer was u201Cinterestedu201D in such a plot u201Camong other things.u201D Gareth Porter has suggested these u201Cother thingsu201D might well have been a drug deal involving opium, a product the Iranian Revolutionary Guards – the supposed co-plotters – are said to have a large supply of: Arbabsiar reportedly told associates, prior to his bust, that he was about to make some u201Cbig money.u201D How he expected to do that by bombing the Caf Milano is a bit of a mystery, one that will never be cleared up – because this case will never come to trial.

At the plea appearance, Arbabsiar told the judge:

u201CIn Mexico, we hired a person named u2018Junior,' who turned out to be an FBI agent, to kidnap the ambassador. Junior said it would be easier to kill the ambassador. I and others agreed to go along with this new plan. We agreed to pay Junior, and to do that we transferred money to the United States from Iran.u201D

It was the FBI's idea to blow up the Caf Milano, not Arbabsiar's. There never was any murder plot: the FBI was manipulating Arbabsiar from the start – not a hard task to accomplish, given his mental state.

After his arrest, a thorough examination of Arbabsiar, including extensive psychological testing, indicated he suffers from mania, bi-polar disorder, and paranoia: an MRI indicated u201Cabnormalities of the brain.u201D This was confirmed by Dr. Michael B. Frist, editor of the definitive Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, who extensively interviewed not only the accused but also his family and friends. Arbabsiar would lock himself in his bedroom, smoking cigarettes and pacing up and down, for weeks at a time: other times he would engage in grandiose gestures, and imagine himself a u201Cplayboyu201D with u201Cimportantu201D connections. He habitually lost his keys, the titles to cars, and could barely function: he eventually went broke, and couldn't even afford to go to a dentist when his teeth were practically falling out of his head.

In short, Arbabsiar is the perfect fall guy.

The supposed u201Ccousinu201D working with Arbabsiar, Abdul Reza Shahlai, is reportedly a top official in the Revolutionary Guards alleged to have been involved in several terrorist attacks against American targets in Iraq, a sophisticated operative with plenty of experience in this sort of thing. Yet in a Washington Post piece on Arbabsiar's alleged connection to the Revolutionary Guards, we are told:

u201CIt is unclear how much Shahlai understood about his cousin's life in the United States and if he understood how unlikely it was that a struggling used-car salesman in Corpus Christi, Tex., could successfully orchestrate a high-profile international plot.u201D

It's not just u201Cunclearu201D – the whole proposition portraying Arbabsiar as some kind of international assassin is utterly outlandish. Which is why, when the government announced their u201Ccaseu201D against Arbabsiar, it was met with widespread skepticism and outright mockery from analysts familiar with Iranian intelligence operations.

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Justin Raimondo [send him mail] is editorial director of Antiwar.com and is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard and Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement.

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