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Barry Eisler’s novel Fault Line opens with a U.S. government hit team taking out an Iranian nuclear scientist on a visit to Istanbul. Eisler, a former covert operative for the CIA, is known to model much of his writing on the dealings of his former employer—sometimes dealings that haven’t yet made their way into the newspapers. Which is why this Washington Post story popped out at me:
Iran’s foreign minister on Wednesday accused the United States of being involved in the disappearance of an Iranian scientist with alleged links to Iran’s nuclear program. The charge comes less than a week after Iran reached tentative accords with the United States and other major powers on addressing questions about its nuclear ambitions, including letting international inspectors visit its newly disclosed uranium-enrichment site near Qom. The charge also comes as the United States has raised questions about Americans being held in Iran.
The scientist, Shahram Amiri, vanished during a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia four months ago; Iran previously called on Saudi Arabia to help locate him. He is a researcher at Malek Ashtar University, which is connected to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and was listed by the European Union last year as an entity linked to Iran’s nuclear activities or weapon delivery systems.
Mind you, the idea that the United States would kidnap an Iranian nuclear scientist is sheer lunacy. I’m sure the offer of a bungalow in Pasadena and a new Lexus would do the trick perfectly.
More from Scott Horton:
Conversation — August 5, 2016, 12:08 pm
Sidney Blumenthal on the origins of the Republican Party, the fallout from Clinton’s emails, and his new biography of Abraham Lincoln
Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm
Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
Years ago, I lived in Montana, a land of purple sunsets, clear streams, and snowflakes the size of silver dollars drifting through the cold air. There were no speed limits and you could legally drive drunk. My small apartment in Missoula had little privacy. In order to write, I rented an off-season fishing cabin on Rock Creek, a one-room place with a bed and a bureau. I lacked the budget for a desk. My idea was to remove a sliding door from a closet in my apartment and place it over a couple of hastily cobbled-together sawhorses.
Amount by which a typical good-looking U.S. worker will out-earn a typical ugly one over a lifetime:
A Japanese inventor unveiled a new invisibility cloak that uses a material made of thousands of tiny beads called “retro-reflectum.”
A couple at a Cracker Barrel restaurant in Greenville, South Carolina, left their waitress a note telling her “the woman’s place is in the home,” in lieu of a tip.
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"She never thanked me, never looked at me—melted away into the miserable night, in the strangest manner I ever saw. I have seen many strange things, but not one that has left a deeper impression on my memory than the dull impassive way in which that worn-out heap of misery took that piece of money, and was lost."