White House and State Department in No Position to Issue Credible Spying Denials
I wouldn’t want to be Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, the 28-year-old former US Marine just recently sentenced to death by a court in Iran after being convicted of being an American spy.
Hekmati, who was born in Arizona to Iranian exile parents, and who grew up in Michigan, is being defended by President Obama, whose White House spokesman Tommy Vietor, declared, “Allegations that Mr. Hekmati either worked for, or was sent to Iran by the CIA are false.” The White House, not content with that denial, went on to trash the Iranian government and legal system, with Vietor adding, “The Iranian regime has a history of falsely accusing people of being spies, of eliciting forced confessions, and of holding innocent Americans for political reasons.”
This spirited high-level defense of Hekmati, who was arrested in late August shortly after he entered Iran, would carry a bit more weight though, if President Obama himself hadn’t lyingly made the same statement in person at a press conference last spring, in reference to Raymond Davis, the man Pakistani police arrested after he had slaughtered two young men (later identified as Pakistani intelligence personnel) on a crowded Lahore street in broad daylight. Despite weeks of insistence by the White House and the State Department that Davis was, variously, a consular or embassy employee in Pakistan, and threats to cut off US aid to the country if he were prosecuted, the US was eventually forced to admit that Obama had lied, and that he was in truth a contract worker for the CIA.
(ThisCantBeHappening!, in an investigative report funded by and run simultaneously by Counterpunch magazine shortly after the shooting incident, first outed Davis as a US intelligence operative.)
Davis, who was suspected by Pakistani prosecutors of actually being involved in a campaign of terror bombings in Pakistan, also faced a possible death penalty for murder and espionage, but was ultimately released and deported from Pakistan after pleading guilty to the shootings and paying (with funds provided behind the scenes by the US) blood money to the families of his victims, in a back-room deal worked out with the Pakistani government.
Vietor’s second assertion in the Hekmati case, that the Iranian regime routinely makes false accusations of spying against people, is laughable, coming as it does from a US government that tortures captives, that has been bringing false terrorism cases against people at a prodigious rate, and that is currently holding, in Guantanamo, at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, and in US prisons, literally hundreds of people who have been falsely accused of being spies and terrorists.