Friday, May 25, 2007

Iran and Guantanamo - Gitmoize US popular thinking

Last updated May 24, 2007 5:22 p.m. PT

Human Rights: Capital offender


Haleh Esfandiari, 67-year-old Iranian American who has been held in Tehran since Dec. 30, was charged this week with being tied to a plot to topple the Iranian government.

Unless she's managed to live a spectacular double life, the charges against the life-long academic -- she's director of Middle Eastern programs at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars -- are simply trumped up, either as a desperate effort to stifle free intellectual discourse or as part of an ill-conceived game of hardball with the U.S. Still, in Iran, such "ideological crimes" are considered a capital offense, and in a country that nearly doubled its rate of executions last year, this is cause for alarm.

High-profile names on both sides of the world are speaking out in Esfandiari's defense. "These actions are deplorable in themselves, and also are a gift to Western hard-liners who are trying to organize support for military action against Iran," said Noam Chomsky. "The intolerable treatment of this highly respected scholar and human rights activist severely undermines the efforts of those who are seeking peace, justice and freedom in the region and the world." In Iran, 2003 Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi has taken the lead in Esfandiari's defense. "I've known her for many years, and I know she is innocent," said Ebadi, who spoke to the P-I Editorial Board last year about U.Ss-Iran relations. It's not unusual for the Iranian government to respond to pressure from the international community in such matters, and because of that, we can't turn our eyes away from Esfandiari's plight. Hers is a situation that serves only to highlight the recent -- and cyclical -- hard-liner crackdowns in Iran (CNN reported another such arrest on Wednesday, that of Kian Tajbakhsh, a 45-year-old Iranian American academic and consultant). They need to know that the world is watching.

Posted by Ballard_Bear at 5/24/07 7:06 p.m.

You really bolster your editorial by citing a hack and poseur like Naom Chomsky. Iran is run by a cabal of terrorist jihadists that could not care less what a lightweight like Chomsky thinks or writes. Truly pathetic

Posted by xrower at 5/24/07 8:18 p.m.

The mullah's don't need to know that the world is watching. They already know and therein lies the point. The Iranian leaders think they can seize American citizens with impunity, and why not: Almost three decades of experience have taught them so.

Posted by expatmom at 5/25/07 12:38 a.m.

"You really bolster your editorial by citing a hack and poseur like Naom Chomsky"

What a stupid, off-subject thing to say. Your point, is, what, that since he's left-wing he can't be believed? So which part of what he said do you disagree with??

By the way, I'm sure he knows more about the Middle East than you'll ever have a chance of learning...

I guess the real question is, what's being actively done to get her out? Is the Administration putting specific diplomatic pressure on the Iranians (as opposed to mixing it up nicely with "and about your nuclear weapons program...") like the Brits did? Hey, look, Mom, hostages returned and no bombs dropped!

Or have they just stuck her file in a drawer somewhere, ready to be taken out the day before they invade?

Posted by Ballard_Bear at 5/25/07 5:17 a.m.

Spoken like a fellow tool, expatmom. Noam Chomsky knows squat about anything outside of some expertise in linguitics. His level of knowledge about the Middle East is probably below yours which means he really is a lightweight. It is not the fact that he is a Leftist that makes him a fool, it is that he is a fool that makes him a leftist.

Posted by Ballard_Bear at 5/25/07 5:41 a.m.

Yes, expatmom the Brits handled an act of war by Iran brilliantly. Much like the French; surrender first, preen later.

Posted by statman at 5/25/07 6:57 a.m.

In Bu**sh**'s America we have Guantanamo, Abu Graib, extrodinary renditions, wiretapping and spying on American citizens, massive and obscene war profiteering, rampant corruption in high office, etc., etc.; and we have the gall to point fingers? If we ever regain our status as staunch upholders of human rights, maybe then we can claim the high moral ground. Of course by then, Bu**sh** will be long out of office.

Posted by canvasback at 5/25/07 7:25 a.m.

Since all the experts go to that Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars, could some of these great social engineers go back and update themselves on why we believe that Wilsons "Birth of a Nation" can be applied worldwide? Old Wilson taught Hitler, everthing he needed to know about that great socioeconomic engineering team from way down yonder in the land of Dixie.
Like most Americans, as dumb as most American Presidents, telling the world how to live???
Got to get that WWIII going, it keeps that Texans cash machine running.
19 men with boxknifes, and a plan?

1 Pesident?
100 Senators?
435 Housemembers?

Should have went to the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars, and watched the First motion picture shown in that White House.

"Three generations of imbiciles are enough."

Posted by michaelsclass at 5/25/07 7:27 a.m.

I guess the PI doesn't know what Iran is.

Posted by Glenda at 5/25/07 8:17 a.m.

-Ballard Bear

"Noam Chomsky knows squat about anything outside of some expertise in linguitics."

Could you precisely state your source material and reasoning for making this statement? Me thinks you have no real idea what you are talking about. Admit it. It sinply about his political persuasion and not even a teensy bit about what he may actually know.

Your voluntary ignorance and neocon indoctrination is breathtaking.

Posted by JustRoss at 5/25/07 8:48 a.m.

Hey statman, try opening your eyes and gaining a little perspective on the world as it actually functions. Do you honestly believe that the US government is anywhere close to the same level of heinousness as the Iranians? We aren't jailing people in Gitmo because we find their political beliefs inconvenient, but because we believe they are likely to try to kill people. Granted, we sometimes do it on less than reliable evidence, and the legal processes need work, but that's very different from jailing people on poltical/spiritual disagreement.

As human nature ALWAYS has a dark side, prone to violence and abuse of one another, human rights will always be an uphill struggle, and no country will ever have a spotless record. If you take the position that you must have a spotless record in order to try critique others, no country will ever have the right to criticize another's human rights practices.

If you're still convinced that the Iran's got some kind of moral edge on the US, please, feel free to go live there, and don't let the door hit you on the way out. But stop and think about this while you are packing: If you were to write the same kind of vitriol there about Iranian leaders, how long till you find yourself in a dank prison cell awaiting execution? Somehow, I just don't think that's a worry here.

Posted by Naben at 5/25/07 9:19 a.m.

JustRoss you hit the nail on the head. Statman would let them go to come back and behead our men or maybe blow up an airplane or two. We need to feel for these poor men jailed unjustly, not! I feel the Americans need to understand those people don't have the compassion that we share are willing to give their lives to go to heaven. It is a different culture and they come here with that culture. They don't like the way Americans live, the women dress in a way that they frown upon (I can't say I don't agree, some women do show it all, Americans abort babies,do drugs, etc. we all know what they don't like about us and want us to not exist. We do need to stand up and not allow our people to be hurt while in another country or do we need to stay home? Americans are responsible for a lot of good things and you don't see people die to get out of this country, you do see them die to get into our country. So whatever ill will you want to spout about America take it somewhere else where they hate America, like Iran.

Posted by Clew at 5/25/07 9:29 a.m.

Those who know about past CIA use of academics and researchers, past US meddling in Iranian affairs, including efforts at "regime change", will know Iranian leaders have every reason to be suspicious and diligent.

At least the world knows where Haleh Esfandiari and Kian Tajbakhsh are, and why they are being held. The same can't be said by those secretly snatched and "rendered" by the US - evidence, names, "crimes", locations unknown or "classified, whose families were not notified.

Posted by jem1 at 5/25/07 10:03 a.m.

Aaaah! The sound of hurling epithets in the morning! Almost as good as napalm.

Nitwits, whose minimal level of education and intelligence is demonstrated with every post, deign to evaluate the worth of a man, Noam Chomsky, with their little BB barbs containing nothing and posing as real ammunition. Noam Chomsky has spent a lifetime of study and discourse attempting to return this nation's governments to perform as the Constitutional Republic formed in the eighteenth century. The Conservative Wealthy have fought against it since its inception.

The Tories are in full control again; it only took 200 years and control of the financial wealth earned on the backs of the slaves and laborers. Monarchy has been re-established; the king makes all laws, no others allowed.
Dungeons for torture have been re-established for anyone the king names.

Gee, that darn Chomsky and all of those who support him are just so terrible to actually believe he just might be more intelligent than a Bush or a Cheney or a Rumsfeld or a Gates or a Falwell or a Robertson or an O'reilly or a etc. The fascist pantheon of anti-freedom fighters knows no end.

Posted by xenophon at 5/25/07 10:24 a.m.

Clew(#185548) Thanks.

Have the Iranians, so roundly denounced in this forum, done anything different than the American government has done to people of dual nationality, or born in "suspicious" countries?

At least Ms. Esfandiari knows what she is being interrogated about, some of the people snatched and extraordinarily rendered by the Bush administration were held and tortured for months and nobody asked them any questions about anything!

At least we know where she is. She wasn't trundled aboard a disgusied jet and flown to a secret prison in Poland never to be heard from again.

Does our government have the right to act to protect national security by detaining people they deem suspicious, but other governments don't? Given the history of US subversion and intervention in Iran and the current aggressive posture toward them, even threatening nuclear attack, we shouldn't be surprised that the Iranians are engaging in the same stereotyping and profiling as our own Dept. of Homeland Security.

Given the state of affairs between the US and Iran, any Iranian who leaves this country and goes back there is taking a very big chance.

I hope the Bush administration works diligently to gain her release, but I'm not optimistic they will, they probably think she's a spy too.

Posted by jem1 at 5/25/07 10:34 a.m.

Now, back to the editorial. The great sin of Noam Chomsky and the other human rights activists is to use all of their influence to obtain the release of a falsely imprisoned colleague. What a terrible plot to undermine the Bush administration!
The rage against one man quoted in the article demonstrates just how far into the ether the ideological pure will go to twist every editorial to their own agenda. Noam Chomsky's participation in the release of the woman and his quotes in the editorial demonstrate the stature which he retains in the world. If anything that he says helps to gain the release of another freedom-lover from imprisonment and possible death, he will have accomplished much more than any of the intellectually-deficient anti-Chomsky posts in this forum.

Posted by JustRoss at 5/25/07 10:44 a.m.

I love all these half-@$$ed attempts to try to paint US actions as the same as Iranian actions. Sure, if speak of anything in general enough terms, make your focus soft enough, or lower the resolution, any two things can be made to look alike. Give yourself a little skull-sweat, though, and see how things are different.

Ok, so we know Esfandiari is, but how many Iranians have disappeared in their own country for being "subversive"? Conservative estimates put it in the thousands, far higher than the even the largest estimates of US abuses.

Sure, we've used secret prisons, a practice I abhor, but the US uses it for people for people we think will blow us up. Iran uses them for people who say things like "Maybe the Council of Clerics made a mistake."

Like I said earlier, you don't need to be at the peak of moral authority to argue that others need to raise their standards.

Posted by statman at 5/25/07 11:25 a.m.

I guess I should add that the country of Iran and it's people are being openly threatened by the most technologically powerful military force the world has ever seen. I suppose noone believes that they have any reason to be a little paranoid, especially after seeing what happened to Iraq. Who is this scholar whose life is in danger? Could it be that, just perhaps, she IS an agent of the US, and even if she isn't an agent, how would the Iranians know for sure?

Posted by statman at 5/25/07 11:31 a.m.

According to ABC news,"The CIA received secret presidential approval to mount a covert 'black' operation to destabilize the Iranian government." This piece of information came out Tuesday, May 22.

Posted by bigmax at 5/25/07 12:49 p.m.

Xenophon says;

"... some of the people snatched and extraordinarily rendered by the Bush administration were held and tortured for months and nobody asked them any questions about anything!"

No smarm intended but I would be interested in reading articles about such a thing. Can you give specific links?

Posted by u2r2h at 5/25/07 1:19 p.m.

The trouble in the USA is much deeper than our understanding of Chomsky

What do we do in the Middle East?

It's the crude, dude!

Why? Because we are cowards and too lazy to work in our own country. We are too lame to get electric cars, wave power or efficiency organized.

Instead we stick to making guns and weaponizing space, and send our poverty draftees into spilling guts

The private business model is wasteful to the max.

I thank the Bush-rapture-military-ideologes for making the sacrifice of 911. Ever wondered why 911 succeeded?

Because there was no opposition, it was an inside job.

Thank you, US military. Thank you for demonstrating the falsehood of western propaganda, thank you for Guantanamo and Thank you, US prison system for making clear to the world that living in an anti-socialist world is an empty life, full of hatred and tacky crap.

What needs to be done? google LIETAER MP3 and listen for ideas on the reform of the evil money system, and READ CHOMSKY. Your common sense has been beaten out of you by 50 years of business propaganda (ALEX CAREY MP3) but most people can refocus in a second.

The experience in post ww2 Germany shows that some people (Ballard Bear) cannot regain their moral direction, they continue living their lie until they die.

Death is a wonderful thing, imagine if Hitler lived forever.

Corporations (undemocratic & powerful) have no natural lifespan. They can continue to terrorize us.

After ww2, Germans knew exactly what caused war&holocaust .. google AHLEN PROGRAM GERMANY and discover how the right-wingers demanded the nationalization of the key industries, to prevent the logical outcome of huge-private-power.... instrumentalizing people (cannonfodder) for profits.

Hello Halliburton!

Better bye bye Bechtel.

Welcome to the US-national-electric-car utility ;-)

Don't forget: The US military did 911! with evil (secret) technology.

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posted by u2r2h at 3:11 PM


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