Monday, September 26, 2011

#IRAN :What Media Coverage Omits about U.S. Hikers Released By Iran.. By Glenn Greenwald

September 26, 2011 "Salon" --  Two American hikers imprisoned for more than two years by Iran on extremely dubious espionage charges and in highly oppressive conditions, Joshua Fattal and Shane Bauer, were released last week and spoke yesterday in Manhattan about their ordeal.  Most establishment media accounts in the U.S. have predictably exploited the emotions of the drama as a means of bolstering the U.S.-is-Good/Iran-is-Evil narrative which they reflexively spout.  But far more revealing is what these media accounts exclude, beginning with the important, insightful and brave remarks from the released prisoners themselves (their full press conference was broadcast this morning on Democracy Now).

Fattal began by recounting the horrible conditions of the prison in which they were held, including being kept virtually all day in a tiny cell alone and hearing other prisoners being beaten; he explained that, of everything that was done to them, "solitary confinement was the worst experience of all of our lives."  Bauer then noted that they were imprisoned due solely to what he called the "32 years of mutual hostility between America and Iran," and said: "the irony is that [we] oppose U.S. policies towards Iran which perpetuate this hostility."  After complaining that the two court sessions they attended were "total shams" and that "we'd been held in almost total isolation - stripped of our rights and freedoms," he explained:
In prison, every time we complained about our conditions, the guards would remind us of comparable conditions at Guantanamo Bay; they'd remind us of CIA prisons in other parts of the world; and conditions that Iranians and others experience in prisons in the U.S.
We do not believe that such human rights violation on the part of our government justify what has been done to us: not for a moment.  However, we do believe that these actions on the part of the U.S. provide an excuse for other governments - including the government of Iran - to act in kind.
[Indeed, as harrowing and unjust as their imprisonment was, Bauer and Fattal on some level are fortunate not to have ended up in the grips of the American War on Terror detention system, where detainees remain for many more years without even the pretense of due process -- still -- to say nothing of the torture regime to which hundreds (at least) were subjected.]
Fattal then expressed "great thanks to world leaders and individuals" who worked for their release, including Hugo Chavez, the governments of Turkey and Brazil, Sean Penn, Noam Chomsky, Mohammad Ali, Cindy Sheehan, Desmond Tutu, as well as Muslims from around the world and "elements within the Iranian government," as well as U.S. officials...read more