Iran has released the Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi from prison.
This would be a good time for the United States to release the Al-Jazeera journalist Sami al-Haj from Guantánamo, no? According to Reporters Without Borders, al-Haj, arrested in 2001, has never been charged and has been interrogated more than 200 times.
Correction: Reporters Without Borders really needs to update its information — it turns out that al-Haj was released in 2007. Glenn Greenwald has all the details at Salon, including our continued detainment of Reuters freelance photographer Ibrahim Jassam. (Hat tip to Steve.)
Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi has been sentenced to eight years in an Iranian prison, the Committee to Protect Journalists reports. The dispatch begins:
An Iranian court convicted journalist Roxana Saberi of espionage and sentenced her to eight years in prison today following a closed, one-day trial earlier this week, according to international news reports. Her lawyer said he will appeal. “Roxana Saberi’s trial lacked transparency and we are concerned that she may not have been treated fairly,” said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator. “We call on the Iranian authorities to release her on bail pending her appeal.”
You have to wonder if Saberi has been caught up in the byzantine workings of internal Iranian politics. President Obama has attempted to find an opening to the regime. Iranians who don’t want to see any contacts between Iran and the United States obviously stand to benefit from Saberi’s imprisonment.
Obama now pretty much can’t — and shouldn’t — have anything to do with the Iranian government unless it releases Saberi. Which it won’t.
Here is a link to the CPJ’s online petition demanding freedom for Saberi. I’m going to go sign the Facebook version right now.
More: I see that the petition is now closed. But I joined the CPJ’s Facebook group, and urge you to do the same.
Still more: According to Global Voices Online, an Iranian blogger says Saberi is being held so that she can be used as a pawn in a prisoner swap.
Photo of Saberi with former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami.
I don’t like to state the obvious, but sometimes the obvious needs to be stated. Farah Stockman’s story on how a semi-American company took advantages of loopholes to bring a dangerous technology to Iran shows that the Boston Globe is still capable of competing at a national level — not all the time, not on every story, but when it picks its shots.
According to Stockman, an oil-services company called Schlumberger developed a drilling tool being used in Iran’s oil fields that contains radioactive materials capable of being converted into a so-called dirty bomb. The technology arose out of work in Schlumberger labs in Connecticut and Texas — yet because Schlumberger is not an American company, it was able to avoid U.S. rules prohibiting such technology transfers.
Robert Greenwald, maker of the documentary “Outfoxed,” has put together a three-and-a-half-minute clip of agitprop from the Fox News Channel in which Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly and company push for war against Iran.
As Greenwald shows, the rhetoric is almost identical to what Fox was saying in the run-up to the war in Iraq. Have a look:
You can learn more about “Fox Attacks Iran,” and sign a petition, here. Media Matters is on the case as well. This is scary stuff. As Christiane Amanpour observers in the clip, Fox’s warmongering on Iraq had a huge effect on how other media outlets behaved. Could it happen again?