[Pnews] Arrest of Marzieh Hashemi Reveals Bipartisan Nature of Police State

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Fri Jan 25 11:01:00 EST 2019

/*2 articles follow - although the 2nd one is dated, the historical 
background is significant - ed.*/


  ‘How many people just disappear?’ Iranian journalist recalls arrest &
  questioning by FBI

25 Jan, 2019

The US-born Iranian journalist snatched up by the FBI and held for 10 
days without charges gave an exclusive interview to RT about how 
fortunate she feels to make it out alive – and how things could have 
easily gone differently.

/“What I realize is how easy it is for them to make someone disappear. 
If [my son] was not there, anything could have happened to me and no one 
would have known where I was. And I’m just wondering how many people 
that this happens to,”/ PressTV journalist Marzieh Hashemi told RT's 
Afshin Rattansi in an exclusive interview.

At one point during her detention, she was even placed on suicide watch 
– a fact she only discovered afterwards, from another prisoner./“It 
concerned me, because I’m thinking maybe they have something up their 
sleeves here.”/ She was not allowed to contact anyone for the first 48 
hours of her imprisonment.

/“It’s mind-boggling that you can be arrested, detained, shackled, not 
charged with a crime, and I definitely saw it firsthand,”/ she said, 
encouraging supporters to take action to /“demand an end to this type of 
activity.”/ Hashemi’s ordeal sparked protests in the US and at UN 
offices in Tehran, and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif accused US 
authorities of racism in their mistreatment of the journalist.

Hashemi was arrested by FBI agents earlier this month at St. Louis’ 
Lambert International Airport and flown via private plane to Washington 
DC, where she was detained under an obscure, little-used law that allows 
authorities to arrest a material witness in grand jury proceedings. 
After testifying on Wednesday at Washington DC District Court with her 
son, she was released. Two of her other children have also been 
subpoenaed to testify in the unspecified case.

Born Melanie Franklin in New Orleans, Hashemi converted to Islam in 1979 
after the Islamic Revolution in Iran and changed her name upon moving 
there permanently in 2008. She is one of the most recognized news 
anchors on the English-language Iranian state TV network.

*Tune in on Saturday, February 26, to watch the full interview with 
Marzeih Hashemi in Going Underground. 


  Arrest of Marzieh Hashemi Reveals Bipartisan Nature of Police State

by Ajamu Baraka <https://www.counterpunch.org/author/cuxere/> - January 
25, 2019

Arresting PressTV’s Marzieh Hashemi on no criminal charges demonstrates 
by any objective measure the United States operates as a rogue state in 
its utter contempt for accepted international human-rights law and 

Hashemi, an African American mother and grandmother converted to Islam, 
moved to Iran more than 25 years ago. She has become an internationally 
recognized journalist as a result of her press and media work in Iran, 
but specifically with her work on PressTV, an outlet that—like the 
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in the United Kingdom—receives 
most of its support from the Iranian government.

Hashemi flew to the United States to visit an ailing brother and to 
complete a documentary on the Black Lives Matter movement. She was 
working on this film when she was detained by the Federal Bureau of 
Investigations (FBI) in Saint Louis. For two days, her family had no 
information on what had happened to her. When she was finally allowed to 
communicate with her children, they were horrified to learn that she had 
been disappeared by the FBI and moved to a detention center in 
Washington, D.C., where she was subjected to degrading treatment, 
including the forcible confiscation of her hijab, constant surveillance, 
disrespecting her halal diet as required of her adopted faith by feeding 
her animal products, and not informing her as to why she was being detained.

Over the course of some days, it was revealed that Hashemi was being 
detained either under the authority of the vague and sweeping new laws 
passed by the U.S. Congress that has given the president the power to 
indefinitely detain, disappear, and even murder citizens— or a dramatic 
and unprecedented use of the material witness statute.

*The Strengthening of the Police State has Been a Bipartisan Affair*

The arrest and imprisonment of journalists—publishers of “dangerous” 
materials—used to be actions associated in the popular imagination with 
“illiberal” states in the Global South. But with the current economic, 
political and ideological crisis in the West, the superficiality of the 
West’s commitment to “liberal” human rights and its rule of law has been 
revealed to the world over the last decade and a half.

The Patriot Act was the first in a series of repressive legislation 
passed just a few days after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. This ominous 
development intensified the process of destroying any legal protection 
of human rights, which is recognized as fundamental to any democratic 
state and the international order.

Built on the foundations of law that saw the erosion of habeas corpus 
during the Clinton administration, the act provided the mechanisms for 
the objective elimination of prohibitions by the state against unlawful, 
unreasonable searches and seizures and due process.

The expansion of repressive state power continued and even quickened 
during the Obama years. After ensuring impunity for Bush officials who 
were involved in authorizing torture and disproportionate military force 
in the execution of the war crimes of the United States in Iraq and 
Afghanistan, the Obama administration authorized indefinite detentions 
and military trials with Executive Order 13567.

But while that order gave the military more latitude to target 
non-citizens and deprive them of their rights, another question emerged: 
What would the U.S. government do with U.S. citizens working with “enemy 
states” and movements. That was resolved in 2012, with the National 
Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). It provided the legal authority to 
indefinitely detain anyone—including U.S. citizens—holding them on 
suspicions, hearsay, secret evidence, or no evidence at all in the 
United States or abroad.

And of course, we know detaining U.S citizens was not the most dangerous 
element of these new powers. Obama demonstrated a U.S. president could 
murder U.S. citizens—even a 16-year-old named Abdulrahman al-Awlaki—and 
get away with it. 

Abdulrahman’s father, Anwan, was murdered by the Obama administration 
a few weeks earlier. Obama said adding Anwar al-Awlaki to his weekly 
kill list was an easy task for him. When gently asked by the corporate 
media about Anwar al-Awlaki’s due process under the constitution, an 
Obama spokesperson stated it had given him due process, a process not 
taken to the court but conducted within the executive!

Marzieh’s detention violates protection theoretically offered by the 
U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment that prohibits “unreasonable 
searches and seizures”; the Fifth Amendment that affirms the right of 
“due process of law” in any proceeding that denies a citizen “life, 
liberty or property”; and the Eighth Amendment that prohibits “cruel and 
unusual punishments”—what Marzieh has been subjected to daily.

It is not even necessary to spend much time on the U.S. constitutional 
violations since it is clear that even the Bill of Rights don’t provide 
protections when you have been designated an enemy of the state.

Like any other rogue state, the United States determines its law 
supersedes international law. The United States signed and ratified just 
three of the main human-rights treaties, with the International Covenant 
on Civil and Political Rights being one of them. The United States is 
theoretically obligated to adhere to it. It says quite clearly in 
Article 9 that everyone has “the right to liberty and security of 
person” and “no one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention.”

*Hashemi is Being Punished As a “Runaway Slave” *

_cited an unnamed U.S. federal source, saying PressTV is being 
investigated as an Iranian “propaganda outlet.”

But even with it increasingly becoming clear that Press TV is the 
target, it is also evident, according to _Stanley Cohen, 
the state is using the material witness statute in a very creative way 
to deny Marzieh her freedom.

There is no reason for Marzieh to be detained. With family in the United 
States and travel documents that could theoretically be seized if the 
state was really concerned she would not appear before a grand jury, the 
only reason she is being held captive is to once again demonstrate how a 
runaway slave is treated.

Iranian _Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif 
_said on Monday the detention of the PressTV anchorwoman proves the 
United States is still violating the rights of Black people.

He is correct.

On Wednesday, 23 individuals who make up a grand jury will be making a 
decision about Hashemi’s fate, according to her son Hussein. Her 
association with PressTV has put her in the crosshairs of the U.S. state.

For unknown reasons, she has now been moved into solitary confinement, 
according to her son.

But we, the colonized, the inhabitants of the zones of non-being, we who 
have no human rights—we understand.

To have the audacity to leave the plantation that is the United States 
and seek a home in a nation the United States considers an enemy state 
is an offense that requires an extraordinary demonstration of white 
colonial power. This boldness may inspire others on the plantation to 
attempt to strike out for freedom. This is not even new. The state 
doubled the bounty on Assata Shakur to $2 million on the watch of its 
first HNIC because, after all, they are the ones really in charge. Yeah, 
we get it, if others don’t. The message is clear—this is our nigger and 
we will do with her what we want.


    “Today Marzieh Hashemi sits alone. Isolated and entombed deep in a
    government catacomb, she stands charged with no offense but in the
    eyes of this administration guilty as charged . . . a Muslim, a
    journalist, and a U.S. ex-pat who has found shelter from its storm
    in Iran.”

But she is not alone. We will stand with Marzieh and give her voice when 
she has none. We are not afraid, even though we know we are next. Our 
people have endured this and more and will endure even more before this 
nightmare that is U.S. settler-colonialism is over. And unlike Dr. King, 
when our people and the people of the world emerge on the other side of 
freedom, we will not thank god for our freedom, but ourselves.

/*Ajamu Baraka* is the national organizer of the Black Alliance for 
Peace and was the 2016 candidate for vice president on the Green Party 
ticket. He is an editor and contributing columnist for the Black Agenda 
Report and contributing columnist for Counterpunch magazine. /

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 https://freedomarchives.org/
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