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Maziar Bahari
November 23, 2009 7:43 AM   Subscribe

118 Days, 12 Hours, 54 Minutes — On June 21, reporter Maziar Bahari was rousted out of bed and taken to Tehran's notorious Evin prison—accused of being a spy for the CIA, MI6, Mossad…and Newsweek magazine. This is the story of his captivity. CBS 60 Minutes feature.

"Mr. Rosewater was to be my nemesis for 118 days, 12 hours, and 54 minutes. He never told me his name. I saw his face only twice. The first time was when he led the team that arrested me. "This prison can be the end of the line for you if you don't cooperate" were his welcoming words. The second and last time was after I was freed—and warned by him never to speak of what had happened to me in jail. If I disobeyed, he said, I would be hunted down. "We can put people in a bag no matter where in the world they are," he said menacingly. "No one can escape from us."

I did not believe him. I do not believe him. But the doubt lingers, which is what he wanted—what the regime he serves wants from all of us, in fact. They are masters of uncertainty, instilling it among their enemies, their subjects, their friends, perhaps even themselves."


via niacINsight
posted by netbros (22 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
And this gets national newsplay, when the inmates in Guantanamo have been held for more than eight years, as opposed to a paltry four months. By their standards, this guy was treated with kid gloves, merely beaten with open hands, where several of our prisoners have died under our tender ministrations, and several more have committed suicide.

Yet, the Iranian behavior is somehow SO OUTRAGEOUS that it's national news.

It's curious how you can have the urge to vomit without actually feeling nausea.
posted by Malor at 8:04 AM on November 23, 2009 [6 favorites]


Yet, the Iranian behavior is somehow SO OUTRAGEOUS that it's national news.

Yes.
posted by poorlydrawnplato at 8:28 AM on November 23, 2009


All of those journalists/non-violent dissenters in Guantanemo need to be freed right away!

That Guantanemo has to exist is an indication of something fundamentally wrong with the world today. But to equate it with what is happening in Iran is at best ignorant, and more likely intellectually dishonest. We do not live in a country where protesters and journalists are shot in the street, or simply disappear for months on end if they return at all. Our government does not make actionable threats of violence against opposition figures, and if one of the biggest legitimate complaints that our opposition party has about the conduct of the administration is that it chooses not to engage in bolstering the misguided idea that their news network is anything more than an arm of the Republican party than I can live with that.

Also I will not pretend that there are a number of people in Gitmo who have no business being there, (they were turned in for a bounty by a rival tribe, or wrong place wrong time), but they have been working on that for 8 years, and plenty of people have been released. Also I would be willing to bet you that Gitmo will be closed long before the government of Iran starts representing the will of the people.

For the record even with all of this it is pretty clear that Iran is still a far stronger democracy than most of our allies in the region.

Have fun puking.
posted by BobbyDigital at 8:29 AM on November 23, 2009 [6 favorites]


Sorry for the double post, but on further consideration I want to be clear. Your opinions about American policy do not justify dismissal of the truly wrong, unchecked abuse of human rights detailed by this story. This is a false moral equivalence, and the fact that the United States has its own problems does not justify Iran's. Not to mention that the person in question is not even an American. Yes, it is "SO OUTRAGEOUS", and to trivialize it is to endorse it.
posted by poorlydrawnplato at 8:33 AM on November 23, 2009 [5 favorites]


We have no moral ground to stand on here. None. We are more guilty than they are.
posted by Malor at 8:39 AM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


And clearly your agenda is far more important a discussion topic than the story in the links.
posted by The Straightener at 8:47 AM on November 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Meanwhile hoder has been in Evin prison since 1 November 2008.
posted by adamvasco at 8:55 AM on November 23, 2009


Malor, you better be careful about your criticisms what you post the secret police are going to come to your house/place of worship/workplace and you will just disappear, oh wait that isn't going to happen.

In fact I will state in public record that House Minority leader John Boehner is a dendrephilliac and that Joe Leiberman bids on children behind the Stop N' Go near his Connecticut home, I am not worried about being arrested, so yeah right now we are better than they are.
posted by BobbyDigital at 9:02 AM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I recall a This American Life episode about this kind of thing that I listened to recently where they talked about how Iranians who had be tortured in confessions and released would bet on key phrases that would appear in other's confessions like 'colour revolutions' and such because they knew they would be scripted. The scary part is that powerful and supposedly intelligent people believe the public confessions.
posted by srboisvert at 9:10 AM on November 23, 2009


Our government does not make actionable threats of violence against opposition figures...

Why make a threat when you can just make a plane go down in South America?

oh, snap!

Seriously, just because it doesn't happen within our borders doesn't mean it ain't real. Part of the magic of American brainwashing is the illusion of security and civility we maintain on this side of our border, while bombing and assassinating the rest of the world.
posted by cbecker333 at 9:39 AM on November 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


I remember watching that episode of "The Daily Show" that Bahari refers to. It chills me to learn that he was tortured and beaten by the IRGC for participating in it -- and that the torturers thought that Jason Jones was a Real Spy.
posted by blucevalo at 9:52 AM on November 23, 2009


We have no moral ground to stand on here. None. We are more guilty than they are.

On the one hand, yeah, we can hardly be all YOU SUCK and WE ARE AWESOME when we're clearly not.

On the other hand, this kind of attitude (WE ALSO SUCK) is useful how, exactly? Does it mean we never get to criticize the wrongs of other nations or individuals? Do we just sit on our hands and say, "Gosh, we can't say or do anything because we also do terrible things sometimes"? Does it mean that our only option is to just be silent and never try to help, or bring attention to a bad situation?

Recognizing that the reporting of certain actions or situations can be used as political propaganda doesn't mean that those actions or situations should be ignored or condoned.
posted by rtha at 10:12 AM on November 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Iran is still a far stronger democracy than most of our allies in the region.

Iran is categorically not a democracy, even if the theocratic dictators in charge like to pretend that it is. c.f. "Democratic People's Republic of Korea." Not a democracy either.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 10:21 AM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Metafilter=Moralfilter ?
posted by gigbutt at 10:46 AM on November 23, 2009


Aside from Turkey (which is not a definite), and not counting Israel as they are in my opinion are an outlier in the region for a number of reasons, who would you say has a stronger representative democracy than Iran? Iraq? Jordan? Afghanistan?

Very legitimate criticisms of the theocracy aside there is almost no basis at all to compare it to the DPRK.
posted by BobbyDigital at 11:48 AM on November 23, 2009


rtha: On the other hand, this kind of attitude (WE ALSO SUCK) is useful how, exactly? Does it mean we never get to criticize the wrongs of other nations or individuals?

It is a way of trying to build our people's will towards fixing our own problems, to see them in a similar light to those of other countries of which we have a much stronger grasp on how messed up they are.
posted by JHarris at 12:00 PM on November 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Well, based on the Democracy Index, only the UAE and Saudi Arabia are worse in terms of 'democracy' in that region.
My only basis for comparing Iran to NK is that nominally both claim to be democracies but neither are.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 1:14 PM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I hope so, JHarris, I hope so. I don't think at all that the the shitty stuff we pull should be ignored or swept under the rug or denied, and that using an example of how Country We Don't Like Does Awful Thing, and Hey, We Also Do Very Similar Awful Thing! can be very useful. Unfortunately, I've also seen it used as an excuse to just not do anything - not offer criticism or objections - because we also do bad stuff, and that's the part that I dislike.
posted by rtha at 1:36 PM on November 23, 2009


Unfortunately, I've also seen it used as an excuse to just not do anything - not offer criticism or objections - because we also do bad stuff, and that's the part that I dislike.

All statements have two sides like that. If you make a true statement, you can either not like that it is true and try to change it, or you can accept it. (Of course, you can also deny that it is true. That is why it is important to keep saying it if it actually IS true.)

Ideally, for this particular statement, accepting it would be considered worse than changing it. Acceptance is another step down the path to hell. But either rejecting or accepting will happen sooner or later, consciously or unconsciously. Unconsciously usually means accepting by default.
posted by JHarris at 8:38 PM on November 23, 2009




Maziar Bahari on The Daily Show.
posted by homunculus at 10:14 AM on December 2, 2009




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