American hypocrisy rears its ugly head yet again

Joseph Glatzer

An Iranian American freelance journalist living in Tehran, Roxana Saberi, has been charged with espionage by Iran’s Revolutionary Court.’ She was arrested over two months ago and is being held in Tehran’s Evin Prison.’

In response to the news of Saberi’s conviction, on April 20 Sen. Byron Dorgan [D-ND] said in a congressional hearing, ”hellip;I thought it was a terrible miscarriage of justice.’ Dorgan further said he urges the Iranian government to do the right thing by releasing Saberi.

Where is this compassion when it comes to so-called enemy combatants held by the United States?’

According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), there have been 774 total inmates in Guantanamo Bay, with 245 currently being held. There have been a total of two trials completed under the Military Commissions, where evidence obtained by torture is admissible. The age of the youngest known detainee is 13 and the oldest is 98.’ Of all the inmates at Guantanamo, 86 percent are turned in by an Afghan or Pakistani citizen for a cash reward.’

Take the case of Binyam Mohamed.’ He was a British citizen who the CIA, in cooperation with Pakistani and British intelligence, was kidnapped at a Pakistani airport.’ He was then sent to secret prisons in Pakistan and Morocco.’

While in Morocco he was tortured by, among other ways, having his penis repeatedly sliced with a scalpel.’ He spent some time in the U.S.’s notorious torture chamber in Afghanistan, Bagram Airforce Base, before being shipped to Guantanamo Bay where he spent five years of his life being tortured before he was released in February, having been cleared of all charges.’

Mohamed was tortured by the United States because he didn’t cooperate with officials and didn’t confess to the charges brought against him.

How about another little taste of the high legal standards and moral superiority of the United States?’ It’s nice to see just how righteous and compassionate we are compared to Islamic countries that don’t respect human rights, like Iran.’

The following is an excerpt from a U.S. Army autopsy report obtained by the ACLU using a Freedom of Information Act request, ”hellip;the detainee was shackled to the top of a doorframe with a gag in his mouth at the time he lost consciousness and became pulseless. The severe blunt force injuries, the hanging position, and the obstruction of the oral cavity with a gag contributed to this individual’s death.’ The manner of death was ruled as homicide.

There is no known name for this murdered Iraqi in U.S. custody in Iraq. He is only known as number 3235. The United States does have a history of espionage in Iran and many other places around the world.’ In 1953 while working from the U.S. Embassy (which was actually a CIA station, better referred to as a home base for espionage), the United States conspired and carried out a plan to overthrow the democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh.’ They then put in place the Shah, a brutal dictator who tortured and stole from his own people, with the CIA propping up his dictatorship from the embassy for 25 years.

If you were in Iran wouldn’t you be a bit suspicious of Americans, too?’ After all, the coup plot involved CIA agents disguised as reporters.

According to respected investigative reporter for the New Yorker, Seymour Hersh, covert CIA operations by the United States have taken place in Iran since at least 2007, which are designed to undermine and sabotage the Iranian government.’

With your knowledge of the United States’ stellar human rights record, what do you think the United States would do if Iran was actively seeking to undermine our government through espionage within our borders and we happened to capture an Iranian reporter who didn’t have proper press credentials?’

Faster than John McCain could sing ‘Bomb Bomb Bomb Bomb Bomb Iran,’ or Hillary Clinton could threaten to ‘obliterate Iran,’ he or she would be tortured, hung upside down from the ceiling with a ball gag in their mouth and be left to die, as so many prisoners were, with a vague cause of death, as was for number 3235.’ There would be no international outcry and no need for further investigation. When we hold people indefinitely, when we torture, when we don’t respect human rights or international law, why should we be surprised when others follow our lead?

Saberi got to speak with her family within a month.’ There are countless U.S.-held prisoners who are denied access to their families completely, whose families don’t even know what the hell happened to their loved one who just disappeared one day.’

When we don’t follow the law we have no room to claim the moral high ground when others don’t either.’ At least she got a sentence.’ Most foreigners the United States detains are kept locked up in a legal black hole with no end in sight. If Saberi is innocent, she is being used as a propaganda tool and is caught in the middle of a diplomatic faceoff.’ She should be afforded all the human rights the United States denies foreign prisoners and deserves the fair trial that Guantanamo detainees never receive.