Roxana Saberi Sentenced to 8 Yrs in Prison on Spy Charges

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by mkrishnan, Apr 18, 2009.

  1. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #1
    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-iran-journalist19-2009apr19,0,7501122.story

    Don't get me wrong... I find it fairly unlikely that she is a spy. But this does raise a general concern about the humanitarian issues related to closed trials in general. Were she actually a spy, the condemnations and accusations from American politicians would be expected to be no different, wouldn't they? They wouldn't generally say, "Okay, sure you caught us. :eek: " ....

    At the same time, there is at least a small element of hypocrisy in that we have not fully closed off and made right our practices related to suspension of due process for "non-enemy combatants," offshore CIA "prisons" and torture facilities, holding individuals at Guantanamo and other places without allowing them to communicate with lawyers (and, I think, sometimes even blocking international aid agencies from contacting with them), and ultimately also holding our own largely closed trials in which evidence is not made available to the international community for review. In essence, we had been doing, around the same time as Saberi was arrested, things which were only perhaps somewhat less brazen versions of the same unreasonable practices Iran used in this case.

    It seems that, out of our own behavior in the past decade in particular, but out of Iran's behavior recently as well, there needs to be a formal method of oversight in these matters. At the very least, one could perhaps envision some international, disinterested party reviewing the cases against these individuals to see what quality of evidence existed. Probably, against Ms. Saberi, there is very little evidence, and she most likely is not involved in the things she is accused of having done (aside from buying alcohol and perhaps her press credential violations). But the same can be said of at least some individuals recently held in violation of domestic and international law by our own US government.

    So my feeling on the topic... something ought to be done, but it ought not be a muscle play by the West against Iran. Rather, it should be a call for an increase in sense and reason in prosecuting anti-government crimes undertaken by not only Iran but also the United States and others. The first chip we should certainly put on the table is completely and formally denounce our use of the "enemy non-combatant" type of classification.
     
  2. Burnsey macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    ^^ don't forget the Canadian engineer Meher Arar who was deported to Syria to be tortured after being accused of terrorism in the US after stepping off his flight. He came back a year later, was cleared of all charges, and was paid compensation, but no one still knows why the US deported him, the US refuses to say and he is still on their terror watch list.

    These "rogue" states and the "free world" are far more alike than they seem.
     
  3. mkrishnan thread starter Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #3
    It's a fair statement, today, but it wasn't always true. I think this needs to be a reminder to step up our own level of blamelessness in this kind of behavior. If we have a perceived right to contravene our own law for the sake of domestic security, then it becomes far less reasonable to attack the Iranian government for following their own (unreasonable) laws and doing the same.
     
  4. obeygiant macrumors 68040

    obeygiant

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    #4
    Not quite the birds of a feather you'd make them out to be. ;)
     
  5. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #5
    But he did not say they were "birds of a feather", did he? They do both play fast and loose with due process when it suits them, however.
     
  6. mkrishnan thread starter Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #6
    I think this is the core problem -- not so much that there aren't "rogue" states in the sense that there are states that are pointedly not committed to regional or global stability or non-aggression, or don't have any basic standard of domestic law and order. That list does include many of the states we call rogue states. But to suggest that they are rogue states according to violation of international laws is problematic when we flagrantly violate the same laws.

    With respect to Saberi, she gets support from an interesting corner... I am really curious to see whether this is, as interpreted, a more-or-less legitimate nod to the Obama administration's overtures of civility, or whether it is part of some kind of complicated game on Ahmadinejad's part. The latter, given what we know of his character, seems rather more likely. :eek:
     
  7. bruinsrme macrumors 601

    bruinsrme

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    #7
    This is nothing more than business as usual.
    I recall seeing a number of fishing boats chasing our subs. They look like fishing boats ;) the russians say they were fishing boats ;) but how many fishing boats have acoustic equipment being hurled over the side with more antennas than a fleet of real fishing boats, along with multiple radars some with doppler abilities and high powered cameras :eek:
    But they were fishing boats.
    Journalist/spies = fishing boats/AGI..

    I am not saying this is true in every case
     
  8. Peace macrumors P6

    Peace

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    #8
  9. Burnsey macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    Iran is rather sensitive, as is Israel. For example, Israel, or at least the Israeli population (I feel the government has its own agenda) is quite sensitive to antisemitism and threats to the Jewish population for obvious reasons (i.e. holocaust). They see minor criticisms as anti-Semitic, or opposition as an attempt to drive them out, wipe them out etc... (one reason why Ahmadenejad's mistranslated/misinterpreted comments about "wiping Israel off the map" was met with such fierce opposition). Their government has of course capitalized on this to push their own agendas and to convince both the internal population and the international community.

    In Iran's case, they are very sensitive to foreign meddling in the internal affairs of the country. They fear this both from a political and cultural standpoint. For example, the Iranian leadership sees the existence of any western-inspired culture in the society as an attempt by the "west" to manipulate and change Iranian culture for their own gains (i.e. from islamic to secular, or to inspire a new revolution away from islamic towards secular). They fear and discourage kids from listening to rap music, wearing clothes with western logos on them, having wild "western" hair styles, watching satellite TV etc... From a political standpoint they view the US and the west with intense suspicion, because for decades these foreign countries have manipulated the culture and politics of Iran to benefit their own agendas and interests. With the recent nuclear program issue, they again are wary of western meddling and see virtually everything as an attempt to undermine their nuclear ambitions (be it peaceful or otherwise).

    So you see how seriously they take a foreign journalist with expired media credentials in the country (she was first caught buying illegal alcoholic drinks, and the charges escalated from there).

    The number one obstacle to improved Iranian-US relations is that the intense suspicion with which the Iranians view every US act and gesture, even the recent norouz message was met with suspicion. The Iranians know that anything America does with regards to them is done because it is in the interest of America, and not of Iran. The Iranian government is merely looking out for Iranian interests, and historically this has conflicted with those of America.
     
  10. obeygiant macrumors 68040

    obeygiant

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    I hope you're not justifying Iran's version of a legal system with their perceived paranoia. Some here have tried to justify the holding of prisoners at a camp in Cuba with more or less the same reasoning and didn't get very far. I guess its better that she's not a lesbian as homosexuality is a threat to Iranian culture.


    Given the new soft-line approach the Obama administration has/wants with the Iranians it makes sense that hard liners would be losing support. An international incident with the big-bad USA can be just the ticket to rally more support for the hard-liners in Tehran. I believe staying in power is the name of the game. Isn't there an election coming up in Iran?
     
  11. Burnsey macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    All I'm saying is that Iran is a little quicker and more willing to charge people with espionage than most countries because of paranoia surrounding outside influence. This is the same reason why the US is a little more willing and quicker to charge/judge people of middle eastern descent (or even otherwise) with terrorism. The reasons for why this journalist is being charged and held and the reasons for why Meher Arar was deported to Syria to be tortured are both along the same line and involve paranoia.
     
  12. obeygiant macrumors 68040

    obeygiant

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    #12
    I would agree. This would make an interesting chapter in Roxana's book if she survives this ordeal.
     

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