October 15, 2011
This week, the upsy-downsy stockmarket finally ended up – not only for the week, but for the year. We were told that CEO salaries were up 38 % for the year, while average wages for American workers were down 10%. As the Senate turned down the President’s jobs plan, the House passed a bill which prohibits women from buying health insurance plans (even with their own money) that cover abortion under the Affordable Care Act and makes it legal for hospitals to deny abortions to pregnant women with life-threatening conditions. And on Tuesday, Eric Holder and Robert Mueller announced in appropriately grave tones that they had disrupted an Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador to the United States right here on American soil.
Wait. What!?! Iran?
I have to confess, cynical old lady that I am, my first thought, listening to the story on the news, was sort of a “Casablanca” moment. How fortuitous it was that “out of all the Zetas out of all the cartels in all of Mexico,” this guy happened to pick a Zeta that turned out to be a DEA informant. Lucky us.
The second thing that struck me over the next day or two, as I read story after story about the plot and Manssor Arbabsiar, (like so many of the “terrorists” caught in various government sting operations over the last few years) was the big L descriptions of this guy – and the disbelief that he could have thought up such a plot – by those who knew him. http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/14/us-usa-security-iran-arbabsiar-idUSTRE79D5UH20111014 Juan Cole, an expert on the Middle East, made that same point in one of his columns about the operation. http://www.juancole.com/
Over Wednesday and Thursday, many other experts (which I certainly am not) scratched their heads and began to say something was not right about all this:
In spite of that, by Thursday evening, an administration official assured CNN, “Multiple” sources had corroborated the report about an alleged plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States.http://www.cnn.com/2011/10/13/world/meast/iran-saudi-plot/index.html Wasn’t that the same thing Bush and company told us about Saddam Hussein’s non-existent WMDs in the lead up to the war in Iraq?
But the third and most troubling aspect of this whole story, for me, was the blatant hypocrisy in statements made by our leaders throughout the week.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said [in the announcement that day], the plan was “conceived, sponsored and was directed from Iran” by a faction of the government and called it a “flagrant” violation of U.S. and international law. Not unlike the flagrant violation of U.S. and international law we committed (but justified, by legal legerdemain,) only a couple of weeks ago when we sent a drone into Yemen to assassinate an American citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki, without formal charges, a trial or a guilty verdict – not because of any direct actions on his part, but because of his words.
“The U.S. is committed to holding Iran accountable for its actions,” Holder said. My question is, who holds the Empire accountable for its actions over the years?
FBI Director Robert Mueller said the arrest of a suspect in the plot shows the U.S. will “bring the full weight of [the] law to bear on those responsible” and that “any attempts on American soil will not be tolerated.” This, less than six months after we carried out a secret operation on Pakistani soil, without so much as a “Hi, how are you?” to the Pakistani government, to kill Osama bin Laden.
“But we’re the good guys here,” I hear some say. “Bin Laden and Awlaki were bad guys.” The truth is, there are no “good guys” in these things – in any of the governments involved. There are only friends or enemies of the Empire.
Lest you accuse me of “hating my country,” let me assure you I do not. What I hate is this edifice of Empire erected on top of the nation over the last 60 years that is slowly crushing the economic, political and moral life out of the country as the empire’s power structure crumbles and its leaders fight a futile battle to save it.
Our Empire has a long history of inciting coups and assassinations in the name of fighting Communism.
President Regan’s 1981 ban on assassinations – “No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination.” – is still in effect. Yet, the government, in addition to torturings, invasions, imprisonments and bombings in the “War on Terror” that have killed many tens-of-thousands of non-combatants over the last decade, has carried out two such assassinations this year.
Not to mention that someone (the US and/or Israel seem to be the prime suspects) has been assassinating Iranian nuclear scientists on Iranian soil – five so far, I believe – over the last several years. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/nov/29/iranian-nuclear-scientists-attack-claims and http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/iran-nuclear-scientist-shot-dead-in-tehran-1.374847 And we know, from the cables leaked last year, that Saudi Arabia has been urging the United States to attack Iran.
Yet, these government officials feign shock and horror at this questionable plot, supposedly instigated by Iran.
My fear, since this began last Tuesday, was that our government might use this as an excuse to attack Iran or to follow Saudi Arabia into a war with them. While Iran experts expressed skepticism as to the Iranian government’s involvement, all across the internet ordinary Americans – republicans and democrats – who no longer trust their government, worried that it might be a “false flag” operation to justify another Middle East war so we can maintain our presence as we draw down in Iraq and Afghanistan. Or an attempt to jump start this jobless economy with a good, old-fashioned war, since nothing else seems to be working.
The Administration assured us the other day, that we would not take military action over this, though “all options are on the table,” according to VP, Joe Biden. So it seems that, unless you count the hapless guy who supposedly instigated it (and perhaps millions of Iranian citizens under even stricter sanctions,) no people have been harmed in the making of this plot. Yet.