Last weekend, the Martin Luther King memorial was unveiled in Washington, evoking his speech “I have a dream”. I was having a dream too, but mine wandered between nightmare and “déjà vu all over again”. Unlike many on the left in the United States, when I see President Barack Obama I see a fundamentally decent person reading a script written by others – such as Colin Powell reciting his fundamentally flawed brief at the United Nations about Iraqi weapons.
The taurine faecal evidence of an Iranian plot to kill a Saudi envoy in the US has all the conviction of Hitler describing Polish infiltration into German territory in 1939 – and all the humiliation of seeing a decent person’s integrity being abused.
The “plot” recalls how much of American governmental behaviour evokes the unreformed 18th century British polity on which it is based. Apart from the overtly corrupt electoral system gerrymandered into an American version of rotten boroughs and the Gradgrindish attitudes to public welfare, that is no more apparent than in the legal system.
Maybe they no longer hang people for pickpocketing any item worth more than a shilling, but they do execute quite a few on dubiously assembled evidence that relies on paid informants and, especially in the case of the FBI, on paid instigators.
So one does not have to join the Iranian Ayatollah fan club to be sceptical of the latest allegations. It is a sad fact that almost every terrorist plot the FBI has unearthed for many years – even before September 11 has also been planted and nurtured by the FBI.
Even in the long-forgotten first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, it was an Egyptian officer who was also a paid FBI informant who seems to have instigated the completely inept plot – for which arch-enemy of Hosni Mubarak’s regime Sheik Omar Abdul-Rahman is still serving a life sentence. Or not, since the actual charges of conspiracy and sedition are reminiscent of days of repression in Britain around the time of the Peterloo massacre.
It does not take a close shave with Occam’s razor to question whether Tehran really sent a wire transfer of a $100,000 to the US to secure the assassination of the Saudi Ambassador. First, every transfer of more than $10,000 has to be registered, and rings alarms bells for money laundering, and second, sadly, among Mexican cartels, that sum buys a wholesale massacre, not a retail murder.
Then there is the old question, Cui Bono? Who would benefit? One can never totally discount the stupidity of the Iranian regime, but this goes beyond expectations. Iran would gain little from offing a Saudi diplomat – but lose lots. The FBI gets itself yet another (contrived) terrorist plot to justify its huge spending and the intrusions into civil liberties it has been allowed under the
so-called “war on terror”.
Its previous record of getting informants and instigators who are paid and pardoned of other crimes to set up the weak and gullible to be arrested with a fanfare certainly fits the script here: an arrested drug smuggler paid to suborn an Iranian immigrant second-hand car salesman struggling under a huge debt load.
But Israel wants an excuse to attack Iran – and hitherto even a complaisant Washington has warned against. Obama might not support it, but if persuaded by these amateur theatricals, like Colin Powell, he might not oppose an assault very vigorously. And there are many in his administration for whom the question “Is it good for Israel?” outweighs whether it is good for Obama, let alone America.
Even if this were just Keystone Cops stuff from a xenophobically insular FBI, it could have profound international consequences. Quite apart from the sanguinary consequences to Israel itself, not to mention to Iran and the entire region, of any solid manifestation of Benjamin Netanyahu’s bellicosity, a closure of the Gulf and removal of a huge portion of the world’s oil supplies would be all that is needed to bring the whole house of cards, dollars and euros tumbling down.
And, to return to Martin Luther King, let us remember, despite official American media amnesia, King was a democratic socialist, who was assassinated while being tailed by the FBI, as he supported a strike by a municipal workers’ union. He would be occupying Wall Street, not calling for war on Iran.