Here’s the problem with sporadic adherence to the rule of a law and an opaque extra-judicial legal system: We just don’t know who or what to believe. (That, and the executions.) The timing on this Iran “terror” plot is a little too convenient, isn’t it? I guess we should be grateful the terrorists — excuse me, alleged terrorists – weren’t simply sent to Gitmo. Amy Davidson in the New Yorker:
It’s hard to know, at this stage, how solid the case against two men charged with trying to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to the United States is. But it does have one thing to recommend it: an indictment. One of the men charged, Manssor Arbabsiar, an American citizen, was arrested at J.F.K. on September 29th. (The other, Gholam Shakuri, an Iranian, is at large, but, according to Eric Holder, the Attorney General, is not believed to be in the United States.) Arbabsiar will be put on trial in a court in lower Manhattan, just as Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the would-be “Christmas Bomber,” went on trial today in a court in Detroit. Neither was sent to Guantánamo, or put before a military tribunal, or preëmptively assassinated. That sounds like a simple thing, and it should be, and can be, even when, as in this new case, the alleged crime is complex. There is something discouraging about the relief one feels at a rudimentary adherence to the rule of law.
At least six countries are part of the story: allegedly, an American who also had an Iranian passport travelled to Mexico to meet with a member of a drug cartel (who turned out to be a confidential D.E.A. informant) to recruit a hitman to kill a Saudi Arabian and maybe also attack the Israeli embassy in Argentina. (A map with pins in it would help here.) And its scale was also potentially great: according to a wiretap recording cited in the indictment, which said, “They want that guy [the Ambassador] done [killed], if the hundred go with him, f*ck ’em.” Still: that is nothing our justice system—our real one—can’t handle, when we let it. The evidence against Arbabsiar, according to the indictment, includes “a series of Mirandized interviews” in which he “confessed to his participation in the plot” and also gave information about the involvement of others.