Iran's thought criminals
Kian Tajbakhsh - a scholar, social scientist and urban planner - is languishing in an Iranian jail. Why?
July 25, 2007 7:00 PM
My friend, Kian Tajbakhsh, is in jail in Iran for ... well, being an intellectual. He has not had access to a lawyer nor any visitors since being jailed for espionage and undermining the state. In short, if you live in Iran nowadays, intellectuals are the new terrorists. As in Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia, purveyors of ideas, information, and emotions are the enemy, especially if the people espousing such ideas happen to work for a foreign organisation.
Mr Tajbakhsh, an internationally respected scholar, social scientist, urban planner, and dual citizen of Iran and the United States, has languished in Tehran's Evin Prison - notorious for its documented cases of torture and detainee abuse - since May 11. I was shocked last week to see him on Iranian TV, pale and wan, giving the kind of faked confession that would have made Soviet prosecutors blush.
Soft spoken, mild mannered, thoughtful, and with a wonderful sense of humor, Mr Tajbakhsh is portrayed by the Iranian government as a ravenous wolf ready to devour the regime. He was arrested along with other leading Iranian-American intellectuals, including Haleh Esfandiari of the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars. Ms Esfandiari is a 67-year-old grandmother - just the right age to set about undermining Iran. Her lawyer, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi, has been denied access to her. Meanwhile, journalist Parnaz Azima is not allowed to leave Iran.
As an intellectual, Mr Tajbakhsh cannot expect the world's celebrities to beg Iran's government for his release. Instead, he has received support from other intellectuals, such as the 3,400 members of the PEN American Centre, the writers' organisation that fights for freedom of expression. The 14,000 members of the American Sociological Association have also asked for his release.
You would think Mr Tajbakhsh's record in Iran would rule out an accusation of treason. He has been a consultant to several Iranian ministries on urban planning, and helped the government in major rebuilding projects after the devastating earthquake that destroyed the ancient city of Bam in 2003. In 2006, he completed a three-year study of local government in Iran - hardly the stuff of insurrection and regime change.
But he was also a consultant to the Soros Foundation, which, according to Ahmadinejad's government, has worked against Islam. That idea is preposterous. In fact, the foundation's many contributions to the Muslim world include help following catastrophic natural disasters in Pakistan and Indonesia, providing medical supplies to the Palestinians under blockade, and allowing scholars and intellectuals to learn from each other by translating and publishing works from English into local languages and vice versa.
What makes Mr Tajbakhsh's incarceration look truly pathetic is that Iran boasts of one of the oldest civilisations in the world. Persians mingled easily with the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, conveying their skills, discoveries, and statecraft to the west. The image of the Persians portrayed in the recent film, 300, is simply false. Moreover, Muslim Iranians have always respected their pre-Islamic civilisation. Thus, the Islamic revolutionaries in 1979 made a point of preserving the Zoroastrian fire temples.
In its Muslim era, Iran has boasted of some of the greatest poets, writers, and scientists in the world. None of this would have been possible if Iran's ancient Muslim rulers had not allowed academic freedom and the free exchange of ideas and expression - something that is sorely missing in today's Islamic Republic. Other autocratic rulers in the Muslim world are learning from Iran's example, cracking down hard on intellectuals, journalists, lawyers, women activists, or just about anyone who has ideas and wants to exchange them with others. For such Muslim rulers, intellectuals are the new global terrorists, bombarding their regimes with intellectualism. And my friend Kian Tajbakhsh - alone in his cell in Evin Prison wondering what he has done wrong - is the face of this new form of repression.
In cooperation with Project Syndicate, 2007.
OSI STATEMENT ON IRAN'S ABUSE OF IRANIAN-AMERICAN SCHOLARS
Iranian Intelligence Ministry Encourages Citizens to Snitch via New Hotline: TV Broadcast Features "John McCain" Masterminding Velvet Revolution in Iran from White House
February 12, 2008
In a new public service broadcast, the Iranian Intelligence Ministry urges Iranian citizens to use its new 113 hotline to report suspicious activity.
To underline its message, the broadcast features a seven-minute computer-animated tale in which a White House plot by "John McCain, senior White House official who orchestrates numerous conspiracies against the Islamic Republic of Iran," George Soros, "Jewish tycoon and mastermind of ultra-modern colonialism," and others is foiled by a vigilant Iranian woman who uses the new hotline to turn in her brother.
The broadcast ends by exhorting "each and every member of the brave and honorable Iranian nation" to "remain vigilant, and report any suspicious activity to the 113 hotline of the Intelligence Ministry, throughout the country."
The broadcast aired February 5, 2008 on Khozestan TV, Iran.
To view the clip, go to: http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/1678.htm.
"McCain": "Pressure and Aggression No Longer Guarantee the Achievement of our Goals - We Must Consider 'Culture-Building'"
"The White House, Washington D.C."
Narrator: "John McCain - a senior White House official, who orchestrates numerous conspiracies against the Islamic Republic of Iran.
"George Soros - a Jewish tycoon and the mastermind of ultra-modern colonialism. He uses his wealth and slogans like liberty, democracy, and human rights to bring the supporters of America to power.
"Gene Sharp - the theoretician of civil disobedience and velvet revolutions, who has published treatises on this subject. He is one of the CIA agents in charge of America's infiltration into other countries.
"Bill Smith - one of the CIA's senior experts on Iranian affairs. For many years, he has maintained close ties with Iranian opposition groups." [...]
John McCain: "As George Soros rightly said, our goals should be achieved through long-term planning, which will be adapted to the culture of each region. We will provide guidance to influential groups in each region."
Gene Sharp: "Due to growing awareness among the people, our military presence no longer has the impact it used to have. This can be seen in Iraq and Afghanistan. We need to find alternative methods."
John McCain: "True, pressure and aggression no longer guarantee the achievement of our goals. We must consider 'culture-building' over there."
Gene Sharp: "The 21st century is the age of changing cultures and influencing minds."
Bill Smith: "That is precisely the plan we were working on."
John McCain: "But your plan is not enough. For 28 years, we've spent a lot of money because of your plans, but in return..."
George Soros: "I agree with you, but regime change should not be done in haste."
Bill Smith: "We must contact authors, intellectuals, and influential people in society, who have common interests with us."
George Soros: "We should cooperate closely with the NGOs that share our goals. Satellite TV networks have a great impact and play a very important role. Bombarding people with propaganda has always been effective. We must expand the cultural warfare, which we have had on the back burner in Iran for years."
Bill Smith: "We must also send our intelligence agents and others who work with us, personnel [to Iran] to make use of the abilities of leading cultural figures. So far, we have achieved a lot through international scientific conferences."
"There Is No End to Foreign Conspiracies"
Iranian rally. Masses (chanting): "Nuclear energy is our inalienable right!"
A group of Iranian men talk in the park.
1st Iranian man: "Did you go to the rally yesterday?"
2nd Iranian man: "Yes, it was great. A lot of people came."
3rd Iranian man: "There is no end to foreign conspiracies."
2nd Iranian man: "If only our memory would not grow old along with us, we could always remember their treachery."
4th Iranian man: "They seem to have forgotten their defeat in Tabas [i.e. the failed 1980 attempt to rescue U.S. Embassy hostages], and how God humiliated them."
5th Iranian man: "They will not be able to do anything with their economic sanctions. Our young experts' progress in the field of nuclear energy has dealt them a mighty punch in the face."
Oppositionists: "Once We Carry Out This Mission, We Will Get All the Visas Promised Us, And Have a Good Time in America"
Three Iranian oppositionists plotting.
1st oppositionist: "Guys, according to the e-mail I got yesterday, we must get started. Besides, the equipment we need has arrived."
2nd oppositionist: "Now it will be easier to pass on the instructions we get from satellite TV."
3rd oppositionist, named Manucher: "Then all this will become a great news item for our friends in America."
1st oppositionist: "I'm sure that once we carry out this mission, we will get all the visas they promised us and have a good time in America. Here is the necessary equipment."
Sister on Hotline: "I Think He's Keeping Bad Company"
Manucher's home. His sister and wheelchair-bound mother await his return.
Voice on TV: "Security is a blessing which depends on the vigilance of each and every member of the community..."
Sister: "Where were you tonight? Don't you think our mother and I worry about you?"
Manucher: "What, am I, a little kid, that you worry about me?"
Sister snoops in Manoucher's room, finds bag with U.S. currency, pistol, and various papers, and dials 113
Manucher's sister to Intelligence Ministry: "I think he is keeping bad company."
Intelligence agent checks Manucher's background on the computer
Intelligence agent (to commander): "He doesn't have a criminal record. I think he is one of the new young men involved in this."
Commander: "Keep a tail on him all the time."
Manucher is arrested.
Commander (to Manucher): "Thanks to your cooperation, we have managed to prevent a huge disaster. We will take this into consideration when we determine your punishment."
Manucher's sister answers phone at home.
Commander: "Hello. I'd like to thank you for the information you gave us. We have talked to the judge presiding over the case, and he said that Manucher would be released soon."
"Each And Every Member of the Brave and Honorable Iranian Nation Must Remain Vigilant"
Voice on TV: "Today, global arrogance [the U.S.] and international Zionism, with the help of their spy and satellite networks, are planning regime changes. In order to achieve this filthy goal, they will not shy away from any conspiracy. Each and every member of the brave and honorable Iranian nation must remain vigilant, and report any suspicious activity to the 113 hotline of the Intelligence Ministry, throughout the country.
"We are the guardians of your information."
Credits: "Information Headquarters, Intelligence Ministry."
He is a naturalized citizen.
I've looked up some information on George Soros - a billionare financier to the democratic party.
Does anyone have any information on who this guy is?
USA calls for improved respect for human rights of Roma
12 April 2008
The US calls on all governments to respect the rights of Roma, who face racist violence, ill treatment by police, and widespread societal and sometimes official discrimination. These problems rarely receive the government response they demand. It urges OSCE participating States to honor the commitment they made at the 1999 Istanbul Summit. The US government also awarded the Open Society Institute more than $585,000 to provide college scholarships for Roma, seed grants for community development projects, and health and education initiatives.
I thought by reading this thread, I would get an idea what George Soros has in the way of a goal. I cannot seem to come to any conclusion.
Foofie wrote:I thought by reading this thread, I would get an idea what George Soros has in the way of a goal. I cannot seem to come to any conclusion.
Hi Foofie -- did this post, specifically, not help a little?
I learned that George Soros has many "progressive" projects. But, does he have a stated purpose, regardless of a specific project? Or, is he just a generic philanthropist?
[..] In open societies, government is responsive and tolerant, and political mechanisms are transparent and flexible. [It] is a non-authoritarian society [..]. Political freedoms and human rights are the foundation of an open society.
In Karl Popper's definition, found in his two-volume book The Open Society and Its Enemies, he defines an "open society" as one which ensures that political leaders can be overthrown without the need for bloodshed, as opposed to a "closed society", in which a bloody revolution or coup d'état is needed to change the leaders.
He further describes an open society as one "in which individuals are confronted with personal decisions" as opposed to a "magical or tribal or collectivist society" [in which] individuals are unlikely to challenge traditions they believe to have a sacred or magical basis. The beginnings of an open society are thus marked by [..] an increase in personal responsibility and accountability for moral choices. [..]
When Popper wrote The Open Society and its Enemies he believed that the social sciences had failed to grasp the significance and the nature of fascism and communism [..]. Popper's theory that knowledge is provisional and fallible implies that society must be open to alternative points of view. An open society is associated with cultural and religious Pluralism. [..]
Claims to certain knowledge and ultimate truth lead to the attempted imposition of one version of reality. Such a society is closed to freedom of thought. In contrast, in an open society each citizen needs to engage in critical thinking, which requires freedom of thought and expression and the cultural and legal institutions that can facilitate this. Democracies are examples of the "open society", whereas totalitarian dictatorships, theocracy, and autocratic monarchies are examples of the "closed society". [..]
George Soros, a student of Karl Popper, [..] argues that besides the requirements for the separation of powers, free speech, and free elections, we also need to make explicit a strong committment to the pursuit of truth. "Politicians will respect, rather than manipulate, reality only if the public cares about the truth and punishes politicians when it catches them in deliberate deception."
And, why do conservatives not like him?
And, I did not go to the links, since I have an ego problem with going to links.