The January 13 kidnapping of Marzieh Hashemi from St. Louis Airport and her domestic rendition in handcuffs to a secret detention facility in Washington, DC reflects the demonic nature of American rulers. Her hijab was forcibly removed; she was given pork, which, as an observant Muslimah, she refused to eat, and she was locked up as a common criminal. She was not allowed to contact her family for two days.
The popular PressTV anchor has not been charged with any crime; she has committed none. In a January 18 appearance before a district judge in Washington, DC, it was revealed that she is being held as a “material witness” in the FBI’s investigation into another case. If so, why was a subpoena not issued asking her to appear before a grand jury instead of putting her in handcuffs and locking her up? Even her children have been subpoenaed. Ms. Hashemi was released from detention after appearing before a grand jury in Washington, DC on January 23. At Crescent press time, she was with her family and expected to make a statement.
Who or what is behind Ms. Hashemi’s ordeal? She has made several powerful documentaries including one on “Black Lives Matter.” Ordinarily arrests are dealt with by the US Department of Justice (aka Department of Injustice). In her case, there is speculation that the two hardcore neocons in Trump’s regime — the Bible- thumping Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and trigger-happy National Security Advisor John Bolton — had something to do with her arrest. Ms. Hashemi was essentially being held hostage.
She was visiting the US to see a brother suffering from cancer as well as other family members including her children. Born in the US, Ms. Hashemi is an American citizen. Her arrest, kidnapping, and illegal detention violated her constitutional rights both as an individual and as a journalist. But US warlords are not constrained by legal niceties.
So what was behind Ms. Hashemi’s arrest and illegal detention? There was some talk that PressTV has not registered in the US as a “foreign agent.” But PressTV broadcasts are banned in the US through collusion between Washington and Tel Aviv because it was exposing US-Zionist crimes worldwide. In any case, Ms. Hashemi is not responsible for the channel’s policies. She is a TV anchor. True, she is critical of US policies but since when has that become a crime? There are thousands of other American citizens who are not comfortable with US policies, foreign as well as domestic. Besides, there are scores of foreign media outlets funded directly or indirectly by governments that freely operate in the US. It is clearly a case of allowing “friendly dogs to bark freely.”
Ms. Hashemi’s arrest was politically motivated. Iran’s Foreign Minister Dr. Javad Zarif described it as Washington’s “political games” and demanded her immediate release, because she is a naturalized Iranian citizen since she married an Iranian.
Since the Washington warlords have faced defeats on multiple fronts — in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, etc. — they are trying to camouflage these humiliations by arresting a courageous woman. Real men do not target innocent women but we are dealing with bullies and cowards. They always choose soft targets.
Equally revealing has been the conduct of Western media outlets. There was hardly a whisper from the editorial writers over Ms. Hashemi’s illegal arrest. They had gone berserk over the murder of Washington insider Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018. The Saudis were rightly condemned for their barbarism. Bill Van Auken writing on the World Socialist website accurately captured Western hypocrisy on January 18 when he pointed out, “One can only imagine their furor had Iranian authorities dragged Christiane Amanpour, the Iranian-raised and US state-connected ABC News anchor, away in chains and imprisoned her without charges.”
Western regimes are guilty of egregious crimes against humanity and of indulging in rank hypocrisy. In addition to launching wars of aggression based on false allegations against other countries, they also impose sanctions on them. These have resulted in killing millions of innocent people, mainly children and the elderly due to lack of medicines and food.
Marzieh Hashemi’s illegal detention is one more proof, if proof indeed were needed, of the outlaw nature of the regime in Washington. These are actions of desperate people; they know their days are numbered and the day is not far when they will be held to account for their crimes.