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Iran to release Roxana Saberi

Jon Williams Jon Williams | 15:06 UK time, Monday, 11 May 2009

In recent weeks I've written about the plight of our former colleague Roxana Saberi. Last month, Roxana - an American born Iranian freelance journalist - was sentenced to an eight-year prison term, convicted of espionage. This morning, as you may have read, the appeals court in Tehran freed Roxana, reducing her sentence to a two-year suspended term.

Roxana, her family and friends have been through much in recent weeks. They protested her innocence. The result of her appeal is a huge relief for them - and for us. Roxana's case highlights the perils journalists face in many parts of the world. I'm delighted she's been set free and will be reunited with her family.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Jon Williams:

    It is very good news that the Iranian Appeals Courts, have re-did the punishment and release Roxana Saberi from Iranian Prison Custody....

    ~Dennis Junior~

  • Comment number 2.

    While I abhor the arrest of this journalist, the verdict and sentence imposed by the Islamic Republic of Iran I feel I must apportion credit where credit is due ... whether under pressure from other world political leader, the international media, pressure groups and/or her own allies.
    The Islamic Republic of Iran is neither an axis of evil nor a haven of democracy, it is a country similar to members of the former Warsaw Pact in Eastern and Central European, which was a system which thrived on fear, perceived threat and historic enmity ...
    Incidents like this will in all probability occur again, just as they will in the Republic of North Korea, Union of Mayanmar, as well as our designated 'most favoured trading nation' - The Peoples Republic of China (famous for it's tolerance, democracy, human rights, media freedom and transparency).
    This is a very laudable step in the right direction, despite the tit-for-tat sabre rattling and political rhetoric, which we in the west seem so easily mesmerised by ...
    I believe Sharia Law would not be very lenient on 'dishonourable' MP's who received public monies based on a number of 'highly questionable' expense claims ...
    Government officials sanctioning the arrest of pesky investigative journalists digging up 'secrets' on a corrupt entrenched regime could yet find a sympathetic ear or two within the UK House of Commons ...
    I'm delighted that Ms Saberi has been released and is now free, alive and no longer considered an 'American spy' as such ... thanks to the decision reached by the appeal court in Tehran.
    We can only hope for a time to arrive when journalist are free and unimpeded in their efforts to report upon the state secrets and machinations of this recalcitrant and truculent nation, ... and the Islamic Republic of Iran.

  • Comment number 3.

    Jon Williams,

    As usual, the BBC tiptoes carefully around the Iranians, as if there is some unwritten rule that the regime should not be criticized. This whole affair was a game played by the Iranian "justice" authorities to present themselves as magnanimous and compassionate.

    However, people have long memories and will not forget Zahra Kazemi, the Canadian-Iranian photo-journalist who died in 2003 in the same prison where Roxana Saberi was held. She had been brutally raped, beaten and tortured.

    It must have been excruciating psychological torture for Saberi and her family to know that she could suffer the same fate. Usually we get timid reports from the BBC, carefully avoiding any realistic assessment of the motives and actions of the Iranian regime. Like your blog, Mr. Williams. And like the World Service report yesterday, which was in celebratory mode at her release and only raised a one-sentence question at the end of the report suggesting that the original charges may have been unjustified.

    However, I was surprised and encouraged to see the following from the BBC's latest report on the matter:

    Unlike her original trial, the legal process this time was arranged to appear fair and open, our correspondent in Tehran says.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8044193.stm

    That is precisely the point, "appear" being the operative word. And it is good to see the BBC acknowledging that fact.

  • Comment number 4.

    I am pleased to hear that this person is being released.

    I hope that the BBC will give equal levels of publicity to people within Iran who are subject to much more extreme measures - slow hanging - but who have the misfortune not to be journalists.

    It still needs to be openly explained why you are unwilling to be visibly critical of Iran. You have no fear of being critical of (example) US non-fatal mistreatment of detainees at abu-ghraib/guantanamo. However your reports of children being strangled to death by Iran are scrupulously neutral statements of the facts, never as front page or item one news.

    How would you report the event if US forces in Afghanistan intended to publicly strangle to death a 17 year old female rape victim under orders from their courts and politicians?

  • Comment number 5.

    All well and good but last time I checked it was against US policy and rules to hold joint USA and Iranian citizenship.

  • Comment number 6.

    What? Iran didn't send her to a secret prison, tortured or water board her? Why, that's "Un-American, by george!

    Obviously, Iran, with all it's troubles and the international propaganda against her has proven they are a much more civilized nation than many of their counter parts in Europe and in the USA gives her credit for.



  • Comment number 7.

    I love Iran

  • Comment number 8.

    Perhaps the main thrust of the BBC reportage on Ms Saberi always erred on the side of "bad" Iran rather than a more neutral approach. There is little doubt that many "bad" things happen in Iran and we must not ignore that but in covering Iran correctly the BBC also has a responsibility to accurately report on the "bad" sides of other regimes much, much closer to home. It is possible for a UK citizen to be arrested and detained without good reason anywhere they may be including walking down a cycle track in Dundee as happened to one Scottish housewife.

    In looking at the apparent "neutrality and objectivity" of the BBC then why were the original blogs on this subject "closed" without explanation? Why did the BBC make a "special case" for Ms Saberi by putting a blog on the Editor pages that you could not comment on? Why did the original comments on this subject's earlier blogs mysteriously disappear for a number of days? Shouldn't the BBC be much more sensitive about claims of nepotism in its coverage of world events, Mr Williams?

  • Comment number 9.

    IT WAS SO GOOD TO HEAR THAT Ms SABERI HAS BEEN RELEASED.

  • Comment number 10.

    TrueToo:
    "As usual, the BBC tiptoes carefully around the Iranians, as if there is some unwritten rule that the regime should not be criticized."

    redaer_tolb:
    "Perhaps the main thrust of the BBC reportage on Ms Saberi always erred on the side of "bad" Iran rather than a more neutral approach."


    "If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite."

  • Comment number 11.

    I can understand the BBC's bias in favor of its own employees, but what about other journalists? Did the BBC stand up for Bilal Hussein?
    http://search.bbc.co.uk/search?scope=all&tab=all&q=%22bilal+hussein%22
    How about Sami Al-Haj?
    http://search.bbc.co.uk/search?scope=all&tab=all&q=%22sami+al-haj%22
    Or Ibrahim Jassam?
    (Nothing on the BBC site on him yet...)

  • Comment number 12.

    #10

    How very true ... and we both read the same BBC report!

    I did read many other news outputs before concluding that the BBC were conducting a certain kind of nepotism towards Ms Saberi that I find especially offensive. However I do share the common belief that the BBC has no neutral or objective transparency with regard Middle Eastern affairs a view that I am sure True Too shares albeit for seemingly different reasons. If we are to have reporting on ill treated journalists at least it should be accurate and objective which in the case of the BBC was not, in my opinion, anything like the case.

    But your observation will remain etched in my memory - thankyou.

  • Comment number 13.

    12. redaer_tolb,

    I don't base my evaluation of the BBC's take on Iran on one report. I have followed BBC reporting on Iran for years.

    There were occasional exceptions that proved the rule of the BBC's carefully edited and sanitised approach to the regime. One was the article on Ahmedinejad's Holocaust denial conference:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/6183061.stm

    And here is another extremely revealing article on the hazards of reporting in Iran:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/6087434.stm

    And the sad departure of that rare creature: a BBC journalist devoted to bringing us the truth:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/6277172.stm

    Since her departure the BBC has fallen obediently into line in its reporting on Iran, only very occasionally diverging from that line. The coverage of the Saberi case is a fine example of BBC timidity and unwillingness to rock the boat.

  • Comment number 14.

    I'm still pleased to hear that this human being is being released.

    With regard to the reporting...

    I note that abu-ghraib (events in 2003, SIX YEARS AGO, which killed no one) is being reported yet again on the front page of this site.

    This young woman has also received substantial and prominent coverage, presumably because she is a reporter.

    With regard to BBC impartiality - how many people were killed in Iran by slow hanging/strangulation in 2003 and how many times have their tortured deaths been reported on the front page of the BBC news since that year?

    Is it an official policy that human rights abuses on reporters or by the US get prominently and repeatedly reported whilst those by Iran are not? If so, how does that constitute 'impartial'?

  • Comment number 15.

    Might be a lesson here for journalist. IRAN.....hello....nice people... facist state.....dangerous at all levels.

  • Comment number 16.

    Some good news in the news for once.
    While I am happy to hear that Roxane Saberi has been released, I have to agree also that she was merely a pawn in all of this.
    Iran is not a bad country - you cannot blame the country, much like no-one can blame the UK for our corrupt politicians, if there are any!! The methods they use are abhorrent to us in the West, but no different to our spin doctors in our government. A good day to bury bad news - that was one means of spin reported in our press - and releasing someone after having arrested them on spying charges, is an attempt in building compassion; to attempt to show the Iranian government in a good light.

    Iran is a beautiful country. The people are friendly and hospitable, and proud to show off their homeland and culture, but that does not detract from the fact that the government is corrupt. But then, I live in the UK, and so is ours.

    We see the reports in the media as 'wary' of making too harsh a comment. In the West, with the exception of in Hollywood Movies, reporters are not generally under threat of arrest for reporting what they see, but in closed countries like Iran, they are. Iraq was the same under Saddam, and others exist today, where a reporter or jounalist is not allowed, along with the population in general, to speak out against the government. Newspapers are merely a party political medium, with a picture of the 'glorious leader' on every page. That could go some way to explain why we see criticism of UK, US and EU policies in our news - because we can, for the time being at least. Criticise a regime like Iran, and you'll end up being charged as a spy and imprisoned under threat of death.

    We have our problems with our (UK) government, lying, cheating and stealing their way to power, but when it comes out, it comes out, and is reported around the world. There are no such ramifications in some states - totalitarian government - it does exactly what it says on the tin.

    I admire Roxane and wish her well. She is a brave lady and a couragous free(ish) human being.

  • Comment number 17.

    redaer_tolb

    You're welcome mate.
    It's very easy to see what you're looking for instead of what's actually there, I do it myself quite often so don't beat yourself up over it :-)


    TrueToo

    Just a little reminder, Iran is a Theocratic Dictatorship, you know this, I know this & everyone else knows this. Theocratic Dictatorships are not free & democratic nations and it goes without saying that their government is doing some horrific things to its people.

    America on the other hand is supposed to be a free & Democratic nation that upholds the rule of law as well as the fact that it's been trying to act as the worlds Policemen for the last 50 years.

    The reason American atrocities are reported on so regularly is to demonstrate the hypocrisy of their government who criticise and sometimes even invade other nations because of their governments actions.

    The Iranian government are expected to do bad things so when they do them it's not really news so only gets reported occasionally, the American government are expected to uphold the rule of law so when they do bad things it is news and therefore gets reported far more widely.

    Dog bites Man = Not News
    Man bites Dog = News

  • Comment number 18.

    #13

    I do accept your critique about Ms Saberi and BBC's attempt to delicately tread a stupid line. I contributed to one of the original blogs to the effect that she would be freed because she was naive, something I ascertained from many personal blogs by or on her. I also offered the opinion that she had been "set up" by someone who should have known better in western media - I have my own theories (from digging around) as to the news outfit concerned but I'll keep it to myself rather than face legal process by naming names here.

    Iran has some bad apples we know but it also has large numbers of genuine and friendly people. I feel it is unfortunate that we always concentrate on the "bad ones" when certain countries are concerned.

    On the broader subject of bias the BBC is guilty as charged although I do not believe it follows the normal "left versus right" dichotomy. I think it is more sinister than that and I am left feeling quite frustrated that I cannot find out why.

    I respect your opinions on BBC bias as it can be demonstrated in accord with your feeling. What is equally true however is that my take on bias is also supported by the evidence I have collected. What is needed is a much more transparent BBC with a genuine wish to report objectively and not because Ms Saberi once worked with the people writing these blogs.

    #17

    No beating up necessary. Just pleased that someone spotted the apparent splitting of mindsets and was good enough to point it out. It is a good debating point - and your last sentence is still a great quote - is it yours or borrowed?

  • Comment number 19.

    17. Secratariat,

    You're telling me that the relentless America-bashing from the BBC is out of some kind of noble idealism and concern for democratic values? And that the BBC doesn't turn its harsh spotlight on Iran because it isn't news? You're kidding. The BBC is full to the brim with blinkered leftie idealists who campaign rather than objectively evaluate and report the news.

    And when you think about it it's just a touch patronising to assume that the Iranian regime can't or wont be forced to change its barbaric behaviour. There is a powerful movement for change among young dissidents in Iran. The BBC is doing them no favours with its abject failure to expose the regime for what it is.

    Perhaps the BBC has found an ideological partner in Ahmedinejad and company. I'm not sure what other reason there can be for the BBC's abdication of journalistic responsibility when reporting on Iran.

    18. redaer_tolb,

    Problem is, the "bad apples" happen to be leading the country towards the cliff. For that reason alone they should dominate the news.

    Secratariat's quote is not original.



  • Comment number 20.

    #19

    Certainly some of those who "lead" Iran have much blood on their hands, and no great grasp of morality but there are others who are much more pragmatic and determined to reduce the grip the more savage have over ordinary people. We should support that movement for change with care, concern and even handedness, something that another Middle Eastern regime (with its own specimens of bad apples) also needs to learn and demonstrate.

    It is also apparent that in the UK the current expenses scandal could play into the hands of the BNP, something that would not go down especially well with some of our more critical "friends". The UK also has many "bad apples" just waiting to be consumed.

    In so far as US involvement is concerned I am concerned that Ms Saberi was exposed to her potential arrest by immoral people out for a story rather than protecting a young woman from her own naive belief in the way she had been brought up as a child. Ms Saberi's own description of her arrival in and first experience of Tehran takes your breath away. It is refreshingly innocent and hopeful. I hope that the past five months will not take that away from her and see her change into someone as cynical and mealy mouthed as most of those who serve our press and media.

  • Comment number 21.

    17. Secratariat

    I understand your point about the US being exposed as hypocrits therefore wall to wall coverage of misdeads is justified.

    But what is the effect of an unremitting policy of not reporting serious abuses by Iran or the Taleban (slow hanging of rape victims, hacking the head off 'spies') accompanied by repeated high profile reporting of abuses by the US?

    This reminds me of the propaganda during WW1 - repeated, high profile reporting of German 'atrocities' in Belgium to whip up a war psychosis. Only it's being done to whip up feeling against the US.

    Is the BBC contributing to people having a realistic perception of the level of misdeads by the US vs Iran/taleban etc.?

    Example: How about the island of Cuba...on which side of the US/Cuban demarcation line is there the largest number of people held without a trial? Could anyone reading this news site form a realistic answer to that question in their own minds?

  • Comment number 22.

    20. redaer_tolb,

    I am afraid that the regime in Iran is not amenable to being prodded towards change by "concern and even handedness." Neither do strongly-worded letters from the UN or EU have any effect on the regime. You are dealing with radical Islamists here who not only insist on Iranians bowing to their oppressive rule, but do their best to export it to other countries. The Egyptians and the Saudis, as examples, are extremely worried about the rise in Iranian power, not least because of the Shia-Sunni conflict.

    If by "another Middle Eastern regime" you are referring to Israel, there is no comparison between the functioning Israeli democracy and the Islamic dictatorship of Iran. An Iranian Jew can vote for a Muslim but a Muslim cannot vote for a Jew. Imagine the outcry if Israel applied the same rule to its Arab and Jewish citizens. Israel does not have the death penalty and if it did it would not be slowly strangling innocent teenagers to death in public by lifting them by their necks with giant construction machinery, not even allowing them the scrap of dignity afforded by the gallows and a quick death. If a Western country were engaged in such evil, the BBC would be shouting it from the rooftops.

    I'm not sure Saberi is as naive as you imagine her to be. I read an article of hers that included the observation that Iranians will not play sport with Israelis. Could be that she irked Iran's rulers and they decided to teach her a lesson. Pretty harsh lesson when you think about it - locked up for months in the same prison as Zahra Kazemi, with the prospect of being brutally raped and tortured to death looming over her.

  • Comment number 23.

    redaer_tolb

    It's a quote from William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, I think it's where Aldus Huxley got the title for his book The Doors of Perception as well as being the reason Jim Morrison gave for the name of his band, The Doors.

    I've always thought it a very important thing to consider, even though I do sometimes let my own prejudices get in the way.


    TrueToo:
    With the greatest of respect mate I think it's pointless us carrying on with this, you're obviously entrenched in your view of the Middle Eastern nations with your Israeli poster boy campaign going on so I think I'll just have to say we agree to disagree on this one.
    Take care !


    jon112uk:
    I get where you're coming from mate but we also need to remember that there are atrocities going on all over the world and only those that are relevant to Britain as a nation are going to be reported.
    I've never even heard the BBC mention the atrocities going on in some of the Eastern European nations or the horrific things being done in the "_stans" group of nations either where some people are being boiled alive in vats of hot oil or having their skin peeled off while they're still alive by their oppressive leaders.

    If the BBC were to report on every abuse of Human Rights then all four channels would show nothing but Human Rights abuses 24 hours a day.

    In all honesty I don't think the BBC gives anyone a true impression of any country, they can't even give a true impression of the British regions in any detail so how would they manage with entire nations ?
    I often see things about Liverpool, my home city, on the BBC and I'm sometimes left thinking they have totally misrepresented the area as I didn't recognise their description at all, I'm sure it's the same for your area too sometimes.

    I know the BBC are supposed to educate and inform the public but they can't teach us everything about everything, they're just trying to give a broad base of information that you can use to then start learning more yourself.

    If were going to talk propaganda then look no further than the coverage of China, one of the worst abusers of human rights in the world but according to British TV (not just the BBC) there's hardly any problems in that country.

    I think the important lesson for all of us is not to believe everything we see and hear but to instead use it as a starting point for our own learning.

  • Comment number 24.

    23. Secratariat,

    That's a poor show. If you have no answer to the points I made you should be big enough to admit it rather than hide behind a personal attack. You are fooling nobody.

    The BBC selectively chooses which countries to attack and which to give a free ride on account of its pervasive bias. The BBC is also a follower of fashion, choosing the currently fashionable targets. The knowledgeable, responsible, ethical and truly impartial journalist has long been a rarity at the BBC.

  • Comment number 25.

    TrueToo:
    What personal attack ?

    Is calling you mate and hoping you take care of yourself considered an attack these days ?

    To be honest I find it pointless discussing the Middle East with someone who can use the term "functioning Israeli democracy" with a straight face. I don't wish this to become a personal debate but I consider Israeli apologists as repugnant as Nazi apologists and their views are often as clouded as each other.

    I also find it difficult to take you seriously when you make claims like "Perhaps the BBC has found an ideological partner in Ahmadinejad and company."

    Its as if the juxtaposition of the BBC and Ahmadinejad gives you an unbeatable argument, even though you actually offer no argument with the statement.

    The BBC has failed to report on many human rights abuses in various countries around the world, this doesn't mean they're ideologically the same as these nations, there's just other, more relevant stories to be covered. It's a big world and they can't report about everything that's going on everywhere.

    Regarding America, they are supposed to be one of our closest allies and are a nation we are currently fighting wars alongside, it is vitally important that the people of Britain know what our allies are getting up to so that they may judge for themselves whether we should carry on with our military involvement with them or not.
    If you were going into business with someone you'd want to know that they were a legitimate businessman & weren't engaging in criminal activities, surely if you're going to be a military partner with someone then you'd want to know they weren't behaving illegally or immorally before joining the war ?

    The knowledgeable, responsible, ethical and truly impartial journalist has long been a rarity, full stop, not just at the BBC.
    I don't know about you but I personally don't believe anything I read in the media without first verifying it from independent sources. Seriously, give me three media organisations that are knowledgeable, responsible, ethical and truly impartial anywhere in the world, I bet you can't because they simply do not exist.

    The BBC has to not only juggle the responsibility of accurate reporting, public interest & its limited resources, it also has to keep the government happy or it ends up being blamed for everything under the sun, including the death of International Weapons Inspectors.

    When they report about Israeli crimes their supporters come back with cries of "What about Iran" and when they report Iranian crimes their supporters come back with "What about Israel", in fact, both regimes in both countries are repressive, violent & undemocratic but their supporters are so blinded by their hatred of the other they can only ever see one side of the argument.

    I believe our own perceptions & prejudices are far more pervasive than the BBC's. I also believe the BBC to be one of the best media organisations in the world.

    Again, take care mate.

  • Comment number 26.

    In this very blog post we have a fine example of the BBC's gently, gently approach to its reporting on Iran. Where are the probing questions on what was evidently vile treatment of the innocent Saberi for political gain?

    Other examples:

    A few years ago the World Service interviewed one of Iran's vice presidents, a woman who had been one of the leaders of the American Embassy hijacking. The air waves were positively crackling with the personal chemistry between the two and I don't recall one challenging question being asked. Some "interview."

    Have Your Say or World Have Your Say, I forget which, onvited an Iranian diplomat and academic to voice their opinions. The vile comments directed at Israel were quite astonishing. Stranger still was the fact that the BBC host didn't even ask the Iranians to moderate their language a little.

    The BBC's pro-Iran bias is not debatable. Only the reasons for that bias are open to question.


    25. Secratariat,

    I'm not your "mate."

    I stopped reading your rubbish at your comparison of the Israelis with the Nazis. Those who make such comparisons:

    a) Know nothing about the Israelis or Nazis or both

    b) Have no moral compass

    c) a and b.

  • Comment number 27.

    I never compared Israel with the Nazi's, I compared Israeli apologists with Nazi apologists, there's a very big difference.

    Yet again you've jumped to conclusions on the basis of seeing one of your key words instead of dealing with the facts or arguments at hand.

    Don't worry though mate, I never expected a serious reply from someone unable or unwilling to see past their own prejudice.

    As you put it:
    If you have no answer to the points I made you should be big enough to admit it rather than hide behind a personal attack. You are fooling nobody.

  • Comment number 28.

    #22

    I tried very hard to keep the issues between Israel and Iran out of a blog that really concerns Ms Saberi.

    I am not sure how your comment on a report by Ms Saberi paints her as "sophisticated". I have based my feelings of her naivety on over one hundred items I have found written either by her or people very close to her. For example this woman, in her late twenties and with a Masters degree, was dressed down with no make-up because she thought she would be arrested on landing in Tehran! A fellow US passenger helped put her right on that! That is extracted from Ms Saberi's own account of her first visit to Iran.

    Since you "invite" me to respond to the rest of your posting I will.

    One of the most distasteful things about your Middle East postings is that you believe Israel to be "all right", and Iran to be "all wrong". It is not only a one eyed monster of a lie it is simply not going to get this planet anyway towards solving the problems we have. Israel is guilty of many crimes against non-Jewish people. Jewish people were also guilty of crimes against their own in Soviet Russia and Iraq (collaboration in two places as an example) before Israel was established. There was considerable pressure by Zionists to create "refugee pipelines" to the region now established as Israel and terrorist activity by Jews to disturb and distress others in the immediate vicinity. We also know that there is an extreme Zionist element in Israel now that seems totally focused on moving the borders further out whilst at the same time establishing settlements within territory that is not legally theirs. All this in contravention of UN Resolutions.

    I really do not understand how you can be so dismissive of people's views of the wrongs committed by Israel whilst so quick to jump on every last detail of the actions of Iranian minorities no matter how unpleasant and newsworthy they may be. If you wish to have selective memory so be it but please do not try to impose your peculiar kind of brainwashing on others. A little contrition for the wrongs of Israel would be a really giant step towards trying to sort out the mess that is the Middle East.

  • Comment number 29.

    28. redaer_tolb wrote:

    #22

    I tried very hard to keep the issues between Israel and Iran out of a blog that really concerns Ms Saberi.


    Then why talk about "another Middle Eastern regime?" Unless I read you incorrectly and you were talking about Iraq or some other country.

    One of the most distasteful things about your Middle East postings is that you believe Israel to be "all right", and Iran to be "all wrong".

    I don't. I've said before that there are plenty of things wrong with Israel, but I don't see why I should enumerate them here. We get enough Israel-bashing through people's prejudiced fantasies of what they think are Israel's motivations without me giving them more ammunition. And I've never bashed the Iranian people, you might note, just the despicable regime. People who defend it do the Iranian people a great disservice.

    Israel is guilty of many crimes against non-Jewish people.

    Evidence, please. Unless you think that Israel should not defend herself against Palestinian terror. And what is this "collaboration" you speak of. Are you now going to bash the pre-Israel Jews?

    The "Zionists" did not act in a vacuum, as you appear to think. The Arabs were gearing up for another genocide against the Jews even while the Nazi genocide was still taking place. They were aided and abetted in this by the British, who even fought on the Arab side in Israel's War of Independence.

    Funny thing about this question of territory and UN resolutions is that if the Arabs had accepted the UN partition proposal of 1947, there would have been another Palestinian state (apart from Jordan) and Israel would have been a fraction of its present size. They rejected partition and embarked on genocidal war after war and relentless terror against Israel. Israel has every right to hold territory as a defence against this onslaught. Study UN resolution 242 of 1967, but study it without knee-jerk reactions if you can.

    Now here is a question for you: do you think that only Israel is required to show "contrition" for wrongs or do you acknowledge wrongs done by the Arab side of the conflict or, for that matter, the Iranians?

    The Iranian regime doesn't limit itself to terrorising its own citizens, like Roxana Saberi and Zahra Kazemi and countless others, but is also an exporter of terror, innocent Israeli civilians mainly bearing the brunt of that terror.

    I'm not sure why you have such a problem with these concepts.





  • Comment number 30.

    TrueToo:
    "The Iranian regime doesn't limit itself to terrorising its own citizens, like Roxana Saberi and Zahra Kazemi and countless others, but is also an exporter of terror, innocent Israeli civilians mainly bearing the brunt of that terror."

    The Iranian regime... is also an exporter of terror.

    That's an interesting statement.

    Considering that the regime only ever came about as a result of other nations, mainly Britain & the U.S., exporting terror to Iran.

    I'm not defending the Iranian regime here, I'll happily state they are a repugnant regime who've committed many acts of terror since the Islamic Revolution, but would they have had that opportunity in the first place if the Shah had not been supported in his reign of terror ?

    We then also had our old friend Saddam launching his war against Iran, again with our support as this shows us:
    In a secret 1981 memo summing up a trip to the Middle East, then-Secretary of State Alexander Haig wrote: "It was also interesting to confirm that President Carter gave the Iraqis a green light to launch the war against Iran through Prince Fahd" of Jordan."

    In a war that happened to cost over 100,000 Iraqi and over 1,000,000 Iranian lives.


    Maybe it's time we followed the advice of the Bible and stopped complaining about the splinter in their eye while ignoring the plank in ours.

    The only way we'll ever be able to find Peace is to accept we're all as bad as each other and that the truth is that it has nothing to do with our religion, race or nationality but actually has everything to do with our greed, arrogance & hypocrisy.

    Rather than us all trying to dominate the world while destabilising everyone else we should work together to bring all people a better standard of life where all people, British, American, Israeli, Iranian and everyone else can live in Peace.

    We've done terrible things, so have the Iranians, Americans, Israeli's and almost everyone else, I'd rather have a concerted effort at a truth & reconciliation process than carry on fighting everyone.

    Remember that when you're pointing the finger of blame at someone else there's still three pointing right back at you.


    Secratariat - well done lad, managed to slip in a mention of The Doors in a blog about the Middle East, quality !
    Better be careful, you're about to be labelled an anti-Semite, you'll have the Rabbi on here shouting at people, it'd be Manchester all over again :-0
    I've told you before though, you should use Communist apologists when making that argument as the pro-Israeli's always use it against you out of context.

  • Comment number 31.

    30. metalmentalist,

    I take your point re the historical perspective but I don't think the West should be obliged to take responsibility for Saddam Hussein's torture chambers and rape rooms or the fact that the Iranians slowly strangle teenage homosexuals to death. You are assuming that a Khomeini or a Hussein wouldn't have sprung up anyway if the West hadn't intervened. It's an unprovable hypothesis.

    And I certainly don't agree that we are all as bad as one another. That's the moral equivalence virus.

  • Comment number 32.

    I'm not saying we're responsible for any of their actions, each man is responsible for his own actions and must live with the consequences himself but there is a responsibility of causality that lies with our government and several others.

    Would the Ayatollah have gained such widespread support if it wasn't for the Shah's dictatorship ?

    Obviously we'll never know but one thing is for sure, had the worlds Superpowers put the same sort of effort into countries like Iran after WWII as we did with Germany & Japan then its quite likely they'd be modern, progressive nations these days too and instead of fighting direct or indirect wars with them we'd be trading with them instead and working on projects like the LHC at CERN rather than killing each other.

    Because of our greed & arrogance we thought we could exploit these people without suffering any consequences, the Islamic Revolution then led us to support Saddam while ignoring his crimes until he got too big for his boots and went after Kuwait, then we had to swallow our pride and go fight the guy we'd been arming ad infinitum till the present day &we repeated it all over the world.
    We're the architects of our own downfall and until we start dealing with other nations honestly and openly it'll just keep happening.

    The Cold War saw us fighting wars of proxy against the Soviets using whatever poor nation we felt like exploiting at the time, loads of the former colonies (ours and others) ended up being our battle grounds and it is these nations that are now being run by appalling regimes and are breeding grounds for radicalised extremists. These are now the front lines in the so-called War on Terror.

    We can play the victim as much as we want but until we resolve the problems of the Empires, World Wars & Cold War & now the War on Terror then we're going to be dealing with all of this for the next 10 generations, if not longer.
    We can sit and talk about independence & radical or terrorist states all we want but it's not going to solve our problems, it just perpetuates them.

    We may not slowly strangle teenagers to death but how many have we cluster bombed, poisoned with radioactive armaments or starved through our sanctions in the last decade ?
    There's no such thing as moral relativity and the argument over who is the worst is irrelevant to me.
    We wouldn't accept a murderer using the defence that other murderers mutilate their victims first before murdering them so he should be considered blameless.
    All crimes are considered on their own and judged accordingly.

    Until we accept responsibility for our actions we'll always be seen as the hypocrites we are, when I was a kid everyone thought we had to fight the Irish Republicans to get Peace but it turned out that talking to them and working for Peace has actually achieved it, we might not have got to the end of the Peace Process yet but things are infinitely better than when we were growing up.
    We can't win this one with guns and bombs either and it's time we stopped trying to.

    Stop being so defensive and accept the truth, we're as bad as anyone and are in no position to cast the first stone.

  • Comment number 33.

    32. metalmentalist,

    You've made one glaring omission: Islamic terror.

    If you think by rolling over and playing dead the West is going to quell the obsessive drive of Islamists for their Caliphate, think again.

    I'm not being "defensive." I'm debating the issue.

    BTW, Russia and Germany were the big players in arming Saddam.

  • Comment number 34.

    How is Islamic terror any different from IRA terror or any other terror we've faced ?
    There's plenty of people in the Middle East and other Islamic nations who're willing to work with us if we deal with them honestly.

    I'm not saying it'll be easy or that it'll happen over night, it'll take years or even decades of very hard work for us to both earn the trust of other nations as well as learning to trust them.

    There's no time like the present and no-one better to make the first move than ourselves and if we don't try we've got no-one to blame but ourselves.

    The Islamic Caliphate is no more a serious proposition for most Muslims than the Israeli Empire is for most Jews, there's only a relatively small number of people who have entrenched views and if we could de-Nazify (sorry, can't think of a better word) members of the SS and German armed forces so that they could carry on with their lives there's no reason we couldn't do the same with the Islamist extremists.

    If the threat from Islamic terror was as real as some politicians say it is then we'd be fighting it properly rather than having our troops undermanned and under-equipped in Afghanistan & Iraq.

    In reality Islamic terror is just a response to Western terror.

    This from an interview with an American Major in the Independent recently:
    "The reason why foreign fighters joined al-Qa'ida in Iraq was overwhelmingly because of abuses at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib and not Islamic ideology," says Major Matthew Alexander, who personally conducted 300 interrogations of prisoners in Iraq."

    The full article is worth a read, especially considering the interviewee. There's plenty more of that available from our military commanders going back decades.

    As for other nations arming Saddam, I'm not as bothered as they're not my country, I only mentioned America because we'd colluded with them quite often and still are, again, the crimes of others do not absolve us of our crimes.
    Just because other people are doing it doesn't mean we can.

  • Comment number 35.




    The inescapable facts, are that Ms Roxana Saberi has received the justice one would expect from a civilised society. Iran has been quietly progressing as a nation. Now they have surpassed the US in their treatment of foreign prisoners. They are to be encouraged, as well as congratulated, on their rapid development as a fledgling democratic state. Proceeding too quickly is not without risk, but so far they are doing exceptionally well. As for Ms Saberi, no doubt she will write a book on her experiences, but she should at least be given credit for having the honesty to admit she did have Iranian Classified documents in her possession. That, at least, vindicates Iran, after all the mischievous claims of "trumped up charges" and "show trials" made by the mainstream media. Iran have come out of this with their reputation enhanced, leaving big questions hanging over the reliability of the mainstream media.






    Ref 242 TrueToo

    You reasoned: "If she were a spy, she would not have survived an Iranian prison. You forgot to add the word 'alleged'."


    But she was, and she did.

    Sorry to confute your post so easily, when you'd put so much work into it. ;-)

  • Comment number 36.

    #29
    ("another Middle Eastern regime")
    You picked it up straight away didn't you, because you know who the most contentious party in the Middle East is - an admission of guilty conscience perhaps?

    Zionism existed long before the Nazis became an effective and repugnant blot on the map. Its purported "birth" occurred in the 1890's with a clear objective to reclaim a "Jewish State". The collaborations and pipelined stream of Jewish "exiles" started in earnest throughout the early years of the twentieth century picking up pace after the Soviet revolution and with the rise of the Third Reich. There is ample evidence of collaboration in many areas (in Germany, France, and Eastern Europe) by Jew upon Jew. Many of these may have been "survivalist" but many may also have been unpleasant instruments of Zionism. Only those involved know the truth. Having read much of the evidence I have formed my own opinions on the matter. Am I not entitled to do that under your belief system?

    Within Zionist propaganda since 1896 are many examples of the "hatred of the Palestinians" and you know of their existence even if you choose not to repeat it here. And what kind of choice or chance did the "Arabs" have in 1947 under the threat of an Allied axis consumed with the guilt of the Holocaust? Were the Arabs not entitled to fight for their survival too?

    Nowhere will you find me supporting Iranian repugnancy but nor will I be driven to codemn Iran (as a Nation of many millions) for the actions of the few. Nor will I be drawn to condemn Israel's many good people because of the actions of their extremist Government. But when we compare the Iranian and Israeli Governments then I find little difference.


  • Comment number 37.

    34. metalmentalist,

    I don't know much about the IRA, but Islamic terror is worldwide and much broader in its aims and in scope than IRA terror, which I understand to have been driven predominantly by nationalistic rather than "religious" fervor. Islamic terror is predominantly "religious" and transcends borders.

    There is no evidence to support your observation that, "The Islamic Caliphate is no more a serious proposition for most Muslims than the Israeli Empire is for most Jews," and the only things the Nazis had in common with the Islamists was their genocidal hatred of Jews and others they decided were not fit to live and the obsessive desire to bend the planet to their will. The Nazis employed the might of the German army for their ends while the Islamists have no such military supremacy and are attempting to eat the West away from within. They have had much success in this endeavour. Look at the changing face of Europe.

    Chamberlain also believed he could reason Hitler off his evil path.

    In reality Islamic terror is just a response to Western terror.

    Untrue. As an example have a look at how the Barbary pirates terrorised Western shipping centuries ago and took Western slaves.

    I take the point that Iraq obviously acted as a recruiting tool for Islamic terrorists but it does not mean it was their primary motivation. You have to look at the lifelong indoctrination these terrorists receive. Looks like the good major fell for the line he was fed by the prisoners.

    As I understand it, American military supplies to Saddam were mainly of the non-lethal variety. The record of other countries is far more bloody in this regard. Germany, for example, gave him the means to gas thousands of Kurds to death.

  • Comment number 38.

    35. Richard_SM,

    Roxana Saberi was not a spy and no amount of repetition of the allegation will turn her into one.

    Even the BBC, normally ultra-friendly to the Iranian regime, has acknowledged that:

    For anyone who knows Roxana Saberi, the idea that she was a spy was faintly ridiculous. And working as a journalist without a press card would be the worst possible cover.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/8052230.stm

    For anyone other than Richard SM, who keeps on repeating the same allegation like a cracked record and the same praise of the despicable Iranian regime, that BBC article is a most interesting read because it diverges so sharply from the deference with which the BBC generally treats the regime.

  • Comment number 39.

    36. redaer_tolb,

    Please spare me the pop psychology. There's no need to add to the large number of people on the Internet who fancy themselves as amateur psychologists. I have no "guilty conscience" about Israel but I have come to recognise fairly obvious references to the country from yourself and many others who somehow find it difficult to come out directly and say what they mean.

    I don't believe I've ever suggested you are not entitled to your opinion. You are also entitled to be wrong. What's this about "unpleasant instruments of Zionism?" Is Zionism a swear word in your vocabulary? Funny how the Jewish national movement is the only one that arouses such animosity on these blogs and elsewhere.

    In 1896 there was no "Zionist hatred of the Palestinians" simply because the Arabs were not calling themselves Palestinians until the 1960s. I'm not sure where you picked up your history of the area. Perhaps you should consider consulting more reliable sources.

    The Allies had no "guilt" about the Holocaust. After all, they didn't cause it, if you think about it. The British especially had no concern about it as they drastically limited Jewish immigration and turned ships carrying desperate Jewish survivors back into the embers of the Holocaust, denying them entry in direct defiance of their own Mandate to help establish a Jewish National Home in Palestine.

    Yes, the Arabs were entitled to fight, though I'm not sure why you think they were fighting "for their survival," since they were the ones who had the support of the British as well as a host of Arab countries to go to if and when they lost the fight. They were also entitled to compromise and accept the UN Partition of 1947. They didn't, preferring to try to drive every last Jew into the sea. We all know how that worked out.

    I also don't condemn all Iranians for the actions of the regime. I condemn the regime and those who support it. And there is no comparison whatsoever between the dictatorial Iranian regime and the Israeli democracy. Since you are obviously passionate about this subject you should study it using reputable sources.

  • Comment number 40.

    #39

    When you have given your eyes a rest, cleaned your reading glasses, and put them back on, then perhaps you would like to reread my entry at #36. Now you may like to deal with the following.

    The area now called Israel. Who, historically speaking, formed the population of this area - a)Jews and Arabs, b)Arabs and Arabs or c)both a and b? And which of these formed the majority in all years prior to 1948? What happened to those who were displaced or evicted in 1948? Who conducted those evictions? How long had the Jews been campaigning for a State of Israel prior to the start of WW2? Why did the British resist it?

    Which group of people carried out terrorist action against the British in order to force the establishment of the area now called Israel?

    What did I write about the year 1896 in #36 and did I use the word "since" in the same sentence and paraphrase the words Palestinian people by placing them in quotes?

    Following VE day which parts of Europe contained "desperate people"? Did all of these "desperate people" head for the Middle East? Who gave them the "nod" about heading there?

    Was and is the prime principle of Zionism to reclaim the State of Israel, and how is/was this to be achieved according the the "master plan"?

    Did Jews (Zionists and otherwise) collaborate within Russia, Germany, and France (to name just three countries) throughout the first half of the twentieth century to produce a steady stream of migrants to the Middle East?

    You may not like "pop" psychology and neither do I. It is a tough read when it is played on you isn't it? I would suggest therefore you stop using it, and you request extremists in Israel and elsewhere stop using it on the rest of us.

    I have no passion for Israel or Iran. Nor do I have any passion for Jews over Islam, or Islam over Jews. I have a passion for peace where all nations, cultures and creeds learn to co-exist. I have a passion against the kind of hatred you exhibit against Iran and Islam which in my view is unhealthy and wholly destructive.

  • Comment number 41.

    #39 Just two sloppy pieces of the "facts" you wish to press upon us that seem at odds with each other.

    "In 1896 there was no "Zionist hatred of the Palestinians" simply because the Arabs were not calling themselves Palestinians until the 1960s."

    "The British especially had no concern about it as they drastically limited Jewish immigration and turned ships carrying desperate Jewish survivors back into the embers of the Holocaust, denying them entry in direct defiance of their own Mandate to help establish a Jewish National Home in Palestine."

    So it is okay to refer to the area as Palestine but not to call the occupants Palestinian because some of them were Jewish Arabs is that what you mean?

  • Comment number 42.

    The news of the iranian journalist release is a welcomed step,toward iran/the west tension,i hope it can also cut ties with supporting groups that aims to destroy israel.

  • Comment number 43.

    42. uzoffonabo,

    That would be nice. But the problem is that it is the Iranian regime itself that wants to destroy Israel and it puts its weight behind Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad to try to achieve that goal.


    40. redaer_tolb,

    Let's stay within the limits of reasonable debate. I comprehended your comment at no, 36 and answered it point by point so there is no need for me to reread it.

    You have a funny debating technique. If you think waving a whole bunch of questions at me is going to distract anyone from the fact that you have no answer to the comprehensive reply I gave you at no. 39, think again. How about dealing with no. 39, then perhaps we can continue this "debate" such as it is.

    However I will respond to this

    Did Jews (Zionists and otherwise) collaborate within Russia, Germany, and France (to name just three countries) throughout the first half of the twentieth century to produce a steady stream of migrants to the Middle East?

    by suggesting you study the history of the period you are talking about as it applied to the Jewish people. But do study it using a reliable source. Then you will be less at risk of making a fool of yourself.

    I don't have any "hatred" for the Iranians. But I'm certainly not too fond of the Iranian regime. And I don't have any "hatred" for Islam but I'm not too fond of Islamic terrorists.


    41. redaer_tolb,

    Who on earth are "Jewish Arabs?"


    35. Richard_SM,

    When you copy and paste your comments from Justin's blog to this one you should at least do some editing. Where is comment 242?

    Actually, I'll find it for you. Then commenters here will be able to see how many people, even on the left, disagree with your cracked record repetition on the Saberi case:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/05/irans_michelle_obama.html#P80058600

  • Comment number 44.

    You do not even begin to try debating on Israel do you, ever. You just trot out the same old propaganda straight off the Israeli information sheet. As long as Israel's moral supremacy is defended in your eyes you are okay?

    I have read what I call reliable sources of the history of the Jews in Europe and these suggest, in every case, there was collaboration especially from Zionist influences. What I am asking you is if you agree - a simple Yes or No is required. Your avoidance in answering the question is curious.

    The other questions are equally simple for you to answer. So why don't you.

    On your comments about Ms Saberi you jump to conclusions about her arrest and fate without a shred of evidence except for the fact that you "hate" Iran (have you written a positive word about the country in any blog?).

  • Comment number 45.

    #43

    My comment on "Jewish Arabs" was an attempt at sarcasm about your nit picking over the occupants of Palestine calling themselves Palestinians. Again you do not answer the question which is a reasonable one if you drop the word Arabs from the sentence.

    By the way I note that your comment about "driving every Jew into the sea" comes straight out of a Zionist handbook (written in the early 1920s I believe).

    And for the record swear words are sometime useful. Sadly I can find no use for Zionism.

  • Comment number 46.

    While it is welcome to see the HUGE media coverage given to Ms. Saberi and to the plight of journalists held by tyrannical regimes, one can't help but wonder as to why names of other journalists such as Yunis Abbas, Jawed Ahmad, Sami Al Hajj, Abdul Rahim Badr, Tariq Ayoub, Julio Parrado, Bilal Hussein, Ibrahim Jassam... all held without charge, trial, tortured for years or even murdered, are not even mentioned?
    Why?
    Is it because the tyrant in these cases are the US, UK, Israel or other "allies"? Because while it's ok to dehumanise the "enemy", the press cannot shed light on the inhuman and illegal practices of our own governments? As an American, I feel shamed by the pathetic sham that is our supposedly free press. And the fact that the media outlets of our allies, including the BBC in the UK, are just as bad, is of little comfort.

  • Comment number 47.

    davidsays:
    "Is it because the tyrant in these cases are the US, UK, Israel or other "allies"?"

    Yes. But if we weren't such big hypocrites we'd have to face the fact we're often just as bad as the people we attack in other nations.

    "As an American, I feel shamed by the pathetic sham that is our supposedly free press."

    You're not alone, as a Briton I'm often ashamed of the supposedly free press, there are a few still trying to tell the truth though, Private Eye and Robert Fisk being two of them. Luckily the internet is now allowing some people to report without the Corporate or Government restraints placed on the mass media, if you can find it amongst the propaganda & conspiracy sites :-)


    metalmentalist:
    "Better be careful, you're about to be labelled an anti-Semite, you'll have the Rabbi on here shouting at people, it'd be Manchester all over again :-0"

    I'm getting used to being called an anti-Semite and it'd be worth it to get the Rabbi going again, although I doubt he'd get past the moderator if he did another Manchester :-)


    redaer_tolb:
    "Was and is the prime principle of Zionism to reclaim the State of Israel, and how is/was this to be achieved according the the "master plan"?"

    Yes, by expanding the boarders of Israel till it filled the area between the Nile & the Euphrates ?

    Although I think we're lucky, most Israeli's I've ever spoken to just want to keep the internationally recognised borders of their nation and want to live in Peace with the Palestinians and their other neighbours. The problem for them is that their government is as representative of their wishes as ours and most others.

    This seems to be a recurring theme whenever I meet or speak to people from other countries, they want to be friends and find Peace and are often willing to make a compromise to help achieve it but unfortunately the lack of any real democracy in the world means that those who are governing our countries are often the biggest barriers to us finding Peace.

    Maybe it's time for another Peasants revolt, but this time world wide !

  • Comment number 48.

    TrueToo

    In sniping at another poster who'd said Ms Saberi had been treated well and released, you said to the poster, "If she were a spy, she would not have survived an Iranian prison. You forgot to add the word "alleged." That's what you said in your post 242 on the other thread.

    I don't understand your logic, and nor does anybody else.

    The reality is she was an alleged spy. And she did survive.

    So your point makes no sense. Can you explain it please.

    Are you so steeped in prejudice that can't see things clearly? Can you not find it in your heart to acknowledge that Iran has behaved completely above board in their treatment of foreign detainees.

    Three examples come to mind. If I recall correctly, they didn't torture or kill any of the US Embassy detainees bcak in the first few weeks of their new democratic state. All released uninjured. And the 15 or so British detainess they held. All released uninjured. And now Ms Saberi, an American who was caught in possession of Iranian classified documents, yet despite the risks to their own security she has been released uninjured. Yet torture was an option for them: she might have had accomplices she could have named. As a US spokesman justified , "Our interrogation techniques are necessary to discover other contacts." Iran did not stoop to such levels.

    As I said, can't you find it in your heart to acknowledge Iran's treatment of foreign detainees is setting standard which USA would do well to follow.?


  • Comment number 49.

    Looks like the truth about Roxana Saberi's ordeal in prison in Iran will soon be revealed from the horse's mouth.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30755315


    44. redaer_tolb wrote:

    You do not even begin to try debating on Israel do you, ever.

    Please don't project your own inadequacies onto me. I don't shy away from debate on Israel or any other subject. In contrast, I note that you still will not deal with the points I raised in no. 39.

    Have a look at the meaning of the word "collaboration" to understand why your original comment was so absurd.

  • Comment number 50.

    48. Richard_SM wrote:

    What a weird comment. Your attempt at pop psychology is transparent and doesn't impress me.

    Try to work out what is wrong with this statement of yours:

    The reality is she was an alleged spy.

    I'll give you a clue: find out what "alleged" means.

  • Comment number 51.

    #49: To TrueToo

    "I don't shy away from debate on Israel or any other subject"

    In #29: "I've said before that there are plenty of things wrong with Israel, but I don't see why I should enumerate them here"
    a) Evidence please? (just list "plenty" of links to your posts backing this up, top five)

    I would be surprised and encouraged to see some evidence. Providing detail and links would give some substance to your statement otherwise people could just post any inaccurate generalisations. Here your ability to recall things seems to weaken when it casts your favoured world view in a negative light. Remove the vague speculative metaphors and many of your arguments fall down when other people post details. You may also appear more balanced if you answer the questions posed directly to you. Your lack of response is not the result of other people's inadequacies.

    Your extremist Israeli bias is not debatable. Only the reasons for that bias are open to question.
    b) Can you provide any reasons?

    You are skilled in the art of misleading language and obfuscation but it might not be that useful in the internet blog age where there is wider participation. It's interesting that you continue to make such an effort to generate so much of it and don't feel that people can see through it and that your views are open to contradiction from posters that actually know.

    Have you considered that your unreasoned assertions are having a negative effect? (maybe you could clarify by saying exactly what you hope to achieve ultimately) Have you considered that you are irresponsible and destructive in expressing and encouraging hatred? Why do you "know" your world view is superior to those that have first-hand experience? You seem to discourage posters that have direct personal knowledge - why? Have you come to the conclusion that everything you post is ok because you're not as bad as other extremists?

    "who also periodically insists that I don't know what I'm talking about"
    c) In this particular case it might be an accurate assessment where your points are countered with strong arguments and facts. This does not stop you from selectively repeating your scripts and reducing your credibility. The "insulting" statement relates to the validity of what you have specifically posted rather than you as a person.

    d) How would you describe the general reaction you have received in these blogs (and other internet blogs) from a random set of people that have responded to your posts? Have you learnt anything? Changed your views? Using your perceptive language, do you feel you have anything in common with MAII?

    These questions require specific answers rather than brief rhetorical generalizations. To improve the quality of debate please provide some complexity and depth and make a genuine attempt to answer them with something nuanced and measured.

  • Comment number 52.

    51. _marko,

    Your pseudo-psychological analysis doesn't apply to me. Do try to find a more appropriate subject as you fumble in the dark. Perhaps you yourself would make a good subject for research.

    You did manage to make one coherent point about my acknowledgement that there is plenty wrong with Israel. No country is perfect. But unfortunately for the manic Israel-bashing crew here who are full of praise for Israel's enemies, Israel stands head and shoulders above those countries when it comes to human rights, the rule of law, freedom of religion and freedom of expression.

    So I wont be joining the baying pack and condemning Israel. I have enough to do combating the more extreme bias, lies and propaganda from the obsessives who incessantly bash Israel.

    Now how about you posting one on-topic comment. This blog isn't about me.

  • Comment number 53.

    To #52: TrueToo

    TT: "I don't shy away from debate on Israel or any other subject" !!!

  • Comment number 54.

    I have read most of the blogs on this page today and have seen the same reports, mentalities and opinions about Iran, regime and Iranians. Saberi is not as innocent as the Western Media has shown us. Although she was not be a terror suspect, the kind we specifically name and arrest these days (in the UK and US)for reasons of National Security, she was a free lance journalist working without a proper permit and credentials which means illegally. CNN showed an interview with her husband yesterday at the Cannes Film Festival promoting his film documentary which Roxana co-directed and guess what it was work filmed about underground music in Iran. Unfortunately she and her family will probably never be able to visit Iran again and she has lost out for lying and cheating and betraying her own countrymen.

  • Comment number 55.

    54. rooster58,

    I have an idea it's not a simple matter to get a permit to practice journalism in Iran if you don't follow the Ayatollah's line. Was Saberi forced to practice illegally?

    Interesting what official broadcasting gets up to in Iran:

    Mr Hammami says state-run television confuses Zionism and Judaism so that "ordinary people may think that whatever the Israelis do is supported by all Jews".

    During the fighting in Lebanon a hardline weekly newspaper, Yalesarat, published two photographs of synagogues on its front page full of people waving Israeli flags celebrating Israeli independence day.

    The paper falsely said the synagogues were in Iran - even describing one as the Yusufabad synagogue in Tehran and locating another in Shiraz.

    "This provoked a number of opportunists in Shiraz," explains Iran's Jewish MP, Maurice Mohtamed, "and there was an assault on two synagogues."

    Mr Mohtamed says the incident was defused by the Iranian security forces, who explained to people that the news was not true.


    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/5367892.stm

    The appeals court suspended Saberi's sentence and banned her from practicing journalism in Iran for five years.

    So I'm not sure why you say she and her family will never be able to return to Iran. Why not?

  • Comment number 56.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 57.

    the bbc is as guilty as the mps it wont tell us what politicians get for appearing on a bbc programme it deletes with no answer to anyone why it stops certain discussions and treats has the uk got talent the same as mps expenses. i cam only hope after mps ecpenses are sorted we turn our attention to the bbc

  • Comment number 58.

    Please! Someone! Explain to me and the rest of the world WHY Roxana Saberi, after being convicted of espionage in Iran, was backed by the United States and released before serving her sentence. Human rights groups all over the world as well as the State Department, including Hillary Clinton, spoke out against her 8 year sentence and demanded her release. Saberi was in possession of classified information that she had obtained through her reporting in Iran.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFXf0Q4aNSs

    Above is a video of Roxana and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meeting after her release.

    What I'd love to know is why was she so blindly supported by her nation after being in possession of classified information when the information my
    father was arrested for having is publicly accessible through Google Earth and other programs. Is it because she's a woman in Iran? A journalist? Perhaps because she's young and a former beauty queen. None of these trivialities should dictate whether or not the accused is supported or ignored by their home country. If the United States shows interest in a citizen who's found guilty of espionage in one country then they have no place to refuse aid to another. My father, John Downs, an American geologist is serving a life sentence in Qatar after being accused of espionage. www.johnwdowns.com

  • Comment number 59.

    Please! Someone! Explain to me and the rest of the world WHY Roxana Saberi, after being convicted of espionage in Iran, was backed by the United States and released before serving her sentence. Human rights groups all over the world as well as the State Department, including Hillary Clinton, spoke out against her 8 year sentence and demanded her release. Saberi was in possession of classified information that she had obtained through her reporting in Iran.

    What I'd love to know is why was she so blindly supported by her nation after being in possession of classified information when the information my father was arrested for having is publicly accessible through Google Earth and other programs. Is it because she's a woman in Iran? A journalist? Perhaps because she's young and a former beauty queen. None of these trivialities should dictate whether or not the accused is supported or ignored by their home country. If the United States shows interest in a citizen who's found guilty of espionage in one country then they have no place to refuse aid to another. My father, John Downs, an American geologist is serving a life sentence in Qatar after being accused of espionage.

 

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