DEA Informants – America’s Biggest Liars?

All this hoopla over the alleged Iranian plot to use Mexican drug lords to carry out an assassination of a Saudi at a fictitious DC restaurant – I knew there was something very strange about this…

And then I read that the linchpin of the case is a paid Drug Enforcement Administration informant who recently faced drug charges and had “cooperated” with authorities to avoid going to prison himself.

Geez, doesn’t anybody in the mainstream media have a BS radar any more?

DEA informants are notorious for being even more dishonest than congressmen. Here is a link to an NPR story last year on one slippery DEA informant that blew up a major case. The DEA knew that its most successful informant from the mid-1980s through 1999 was a brazen liar who routinely committed perjury in federal court. But the feds had no problem with using someone who subverted justice and made a mockery of the judicial system.

Given the nature of US drug laws, the DEA relies on perpetual deceit to justify its own existence.

And we are supposed to rely on a DEA informant to rev up the case for going to war with Iran?

Just when I think that DC could not be fuller of ****, the Obama administration proves me wrong again.

News Media Hypes the “Iran Did It” Line, Ignores Holes in the Story

The work of the news media on this so-called “Iranian terrorist plot” has been one of the most abhorrent displays of irresponsible journalism since the lead up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Much of the time, the press acts simply as a bullhorn for state propaganda, but in this case it hasn’t even maintained that level of recklessness. It’s been much worse this time as journalists and pundits actively tune out important distinctions made initially by US officials, albeit in an obfuscatory and Orwellian fashion.

Just to reiterate some of what I wrote in yesterday’s piece on this, Eric Holder and Robert Mueller were careful in their initial press conference not to directly implicate any high up Iranian officials or any knowledge or coordination with any Iranian government official. When asked directly by reporters about any such direction or complicity on the part of the Iranian government, Holder explicitly said he was not making that accusation. Admittedly, he came close in saying “factions of the Iranian government” were involved, but any honest person listening to the whole statement would emphasize the proviso that he was not accusing the Iranian government.

But then, before any other official statements by any member of the US government was made, these were the kinds of headlines we saw (via Jasmin Ramsey):

ABC News: Iran ‘Directed’ Washington, D.C., Terror Plot, U.S. Says

New York Times: U.S. Accuses Iranians of Plotting to Kill Saudi Envoy

Washington Post: Iran behind alleged terrorist plot, U.S. says

After the media riled the public into a fever pitch believing that the Iranian government attempted to conduct a terrorist plot on American soil, other US officials came out to make statements. These seemed to have lost the provisos Holder was careful to make. Clinton said the administration wants to “pre-empt” any efforts by Iran to deny responsibility. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), Rep. Peter King (R-NY), Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX), and others all came out and said this constitutes an act of war against the United States. Vice President Joe Biden, revealingly, said “This is all about keeping the world united in opposition to the activities of Iran.”

So that’s that. Obfuscation and inflammatory official statements coupled with an irresponsible news media has essentially condemned Iran for orchestrating this “attack.”

But there is another important aspect of this media papering over rather important details about this plot. The “perpetrator,” this Texas resident, used car salesman, Iranian-American bum simply got punked. This would have been difficult for the US government to describe as an act of terrorism without an explosion of some sort and at least some unintended casualties. And as the FBI press release explains, it was the FBI informant who first suggested the assassination be executed with explosives and it was the FBI informant who asked multiple times how Manssor Arbabsiar (the accused) felt about civilian casualties (he initially said it was preferable for only the target to be hurt, but after the introduction of explosive he said unintended targets would be “no big deal”). Again, as I wrote in my piece yesterday, this appears to be the FBI thwarting its own terror plot than any “Iranian plot.”

The media has also done a horrible job of pointing out what is the most glaringly obvious aspect of this scandal: Iran has no discernible interest in coordinating such an act. A number of independent-minded commentators have already delved into this cui bono issue, but suffice it to say that there is no benefit whatsoever to the Iranian government to orchestrate this thing and it is completely out of character given their history. As former CIA agent Robert Baer says, the claim that the Iranian government is responsible is not credible:

I don’t think it’s credible, not the central government, there may be a rogue element behind it. This doesn’t fit their modus operandi at all. It’s completely out of character, they’re much better than this. They wouldn’t be sending money through an American bank, they wouldn’t be going to the cartels in Mexico to do this. It’s just not the way they work.

I’ve followed them for 30 years and they’re much more careful. And they always use a proxy between them and the operation, and in this case they didn’t. I mean it’s the, either they’re shooting themselves in the foot or there’s pieces of the story, I don’t know what they are.

But who does benefit? As I wrote:

These developments come days after the Iranian government proposed – again – to swap low-enriched uranium for fuel rods to use in the Tehran Research Reactor, which produces medical isotopes. The deal, abandoned by the US in 2009 after Iran agreed to it, would safeguard against fears of Iran’s nuclear enrichment being used for military purposes, despite there being no evidence for such fears.

To sweeten the deal, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reiterated that the Iranian government is willing to immediately stop all production of 20-percent enriched uranium if the US agrees to the deal. The US has so far turned down the renewed opportunity to ease tensions and reduce the potential for nuclear proliferation, instead using this FBI sting to push for even harsher measures against Iran.

It seems to me Iran was cooperating on the nuclear issue. In fact, just last week a former Israeli intelligence chief stated publicly that Iran was far from achieving a nuclear weapon and a military strike would not be in Israel’s interest. If we take Biden at his word, a newfangled terror plot certainly helps to isolate Iran (something the US has been working hard at ever since the 1979 revolution).

The problem here is that US military action against Iran is not so unlikely that the news media can have a free pass to amplify the war propaganda. The ominous potentiality of this actually rising to the level of military attacks is not only a flippant afterthought of many in the media, it would be their fault, to a certain extent.


See Jasmin Ramsey for some additional holes in the official story. One important example:

2) Who approached who first?

If Arbabsiar approached the agent first, how did he find them? If the FBI put Arbabsiar under surveillance for suspicious activities and then lured him into direct communication (which could have been the initial point of contact), was the FBI involved in other persuasive activities as well? Considering the loony aspects of this story which even Hillary Clinton has alluded to, is it wrong to question the sanity of Arbabsiar? Is it unfathomable that the FBI could have found a crazy and/or impressionable person who was acting on his own accord but was in some way related to elements of the Iranian government?

Update: A report in the Washington Post by Greg Miller and Julie Tate sheds some light on who Arbabsiar really is. According to House intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.): “It is my belief he was recruited for this particular operation.”

Reaching Out to the Right on Peace at LPAC

In September, I was fortunate enough to be invited to Campaign for Liberty’s Liberty Political Action Conference. In attendance were many right learning people who are new to libertarians ideas, particularly anti-intervention. As part of Come Home America, I am learning how to speak to conservatives about peace.

Part 1

Part 2

Herman Cain Is An Idiot

In one sense, it isn’t a surprise that politics attracts the biggest dip-shits around. In another sense, though, it is extremely troubling that American politics – perhaps now more than ever – has become a celebration of stupidity and ignorance (Sarah Palin being an example, but not the lone superstar in this trend).

Republican Presidential candidate Herman Cain has rapidly shot to top-tier status in the past few weeks, and has now exhibited another illustration of that disturbing trend in American politics. In a recent interview, he not only mocked Uzbekistan and its leadership as unimportant, but reveled in his own glorified ignorance.

In the interview, Brody asked Cain, who has rocketed to top-tier status in recent polls: “Are you ready for the gotcha questions that are coming from the media and others? Like, who’s the president of Uzbekistan? It’s coming, all of this stuff. And how are you dealing with that?”

Cain replied, “I’m ready for the ‘gotcha’ questions and they’re already starting to come. And when they ask me, ‘Who is the president of Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan?’ I’m going to say you know, ‘I don’t know. Do you know?’ And then I’m going to say, ‘How’s that going to create one job?’ I want to focus on the top priorities of this country. That’s what leaders do.

“They make sure that the nation is focused on the critical issues with critical solutions,” Cain said. “Knowing who is the head of some of these small insignificant states around the world, I don’t think that is something that is critical to focusing on national security and getting this economy going. When I get ready to go visit that country, I’ll know who it is, but until then, I want to focus on the big issues that we need to solve.”

Actually, Uzbekistan is not so unimportant. The name of the President is Islam Karimov and he is one of the most brutal authoritarians in the region. The Bush administration supported his regime handsomely in order to have military bases there and help supply American troops in Afghanistan (which is directly to the south of Uzbekistan, in case Cain has as much trouble with geography as he does with pronunciation). The Karimov regime engaged in wretched abuses against individuals caught up in the Bush administration’s War on Terror, and became known for widespread torture, including boiling people alive and raping people with broken bottles. Former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, wrote an important book that Cain ought to read.

The US-Uzbekistan relationship began to sour in part because of how widespread the international condemnation was for forming such a close and supportive alliance with such a monster. But lately, the Obama administration has been cozying back up to the dictator in their execution of the Afghan war, which is yet another sign that the Afghan war is very far from over.  This map from the Washington Post illustrates how badly the US imperialists need obedient tyrants like the one in Uzbekistan, and how important Uzbekistan’s geography is for contemporary American politics.

Hermain Cain knows none of this. He doesn’t know how to say ‘Uzbekistan’ and he doesn’t know who its leaders are, and he has the effrontery to run for President. And to boot, he celebrates this kind of ignorance.

Maybe if the basic facts about American foreign policy were not laughed out of the debate for fear of learning something we wouldn’t end up with candidates like Cain and policies like those of Bush’s and Obama’s.