Police in Iran are reported to have taken 14 squirrels into custody - because they are suspected of spying. The rodents were found near the Iranian border allegedly equipped with eavesdropping devices, according to Sky News. The reports have come from the official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).
Squirrels as Western spies? Have these Iranian ayatollahs gone nuts? I think not, but more about it in a moment. Taken them into custody, did you say? Squirrels? Did the police push their heads down gently before they shoved them into the cage? Did they read them their Miranda rights? You know, you have a right to remain silent, whatever you chirp may be held against you as evidence in a court of law, etc., etc. Oh, excuse me, for a moment I forgot that we were talking about Iran here.
Seriously though, rulers of all ages and all around the world have been known to use, and continue to use, animals for dirty tricks, and not so dirty tricks, against their enemies. Chicken, dogs, dolphins, pigeons you name it, and they have been employed to snoop, spy, and worse. Indeed, it's not in vain that spies are also called moles sometimes! So, I don't believe that the image of a few squirrels with tiny cameras attached to their belly buttons, taking a leisurely radioactive stroll around the Iranian reactor cores, is anything to be laughed at. Besides, I think the Iranians know a thing or two about engaging squirrels in covert operations.
You see, my yard this year is being devastated by ground squirrels that seem to be going at it as if they have a mission to accomplish. I suspect that several of these squirrels are actually Iranian moles that have been woken up from their sleeper tunnels by a fatwa from their masters. What are the grounds for my suspicion?
Well, last year the squirrels were only after my vegetable patch. They snipped the bean stalks from the ground up, hollowed out my ripening melons, and decimated the pumpkin patch. Of course, it was not anything that I had not anticipated, and so, no shock and awe here. With a little help from my sharp shooter neighbor, I could save my watermelons and eggplants.
This year, however, it's a totally different story. These squirrels don't seem to have any appetite for beans, melons, and pumpkins. In fact, they are ignoring even their staple diet of nuts. The zillions of acorns that litter my yard have not been squirreled away, and the oak seedlings are sprouting everywhere like weed. The sneaky ferrets have also completely ignored the luscious butter traps that I had laid for them. Instead, they are digging tunnels everywhere. Under every outcropping of rocks, under the oak trees, even under the concrete driveway. And, whoever said that small pox has been eradicated? Take a look at my lawn, or whatever that is left of it!
So, what are these squirrels after? Why are they digging these tunnels that are several feet wide, and seem to run ten feet underground and hundreds of feet long? Surely, these hand-vac size creatures don't need such massive tunnels as their living quarters. There must be a more plausible explanation. I should dig deeper. Rats, the ones with furry tails are finally getting to me, aren't they?
I live in the foot hills of the Sierras, outside the Yosemite National Park. This place was once littered with gold mines, but they are mostly depleted now. It's true, if you have been panning for a week and it's your lucky day, you may find a flake or two that are not fool's gold. Then again, what will the squirrels do with the gold? When compared to nuts, it's worthless as a source of protein. And, I came a cropper after an exhaustive Google search that yielded no evidence for the prevalence of the dowry system among squirrels.
Besides gold, the area is also is also rich in uranium deposits, I hear. Aha, it's the uranium, stupid! I am getting warmer now. With the tightening of international sanctions against their nuclear enrichment program, is it possible that the Iranians have decided to wake up their moles... er, I mean squirrels, and ordered them to seek and ferret away as much uranium as they could find? With Israel and the US determined to prevent a nuclear Iran at any cost, this seems quite likely. It ought to be now or never for Mr. Ahmadinejad, if he is serious about wiping Israel off the world map!
Yup, I am convinced that it's the yellow cake that this Iranian squirrel ring is after. Where is Valerie Plame when I need her the most? Honey, will you get the CIA on line for me, please?