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Sharp Rise In Jailing of Online Journalists; Iran May Just Kill Them 233

bckspc writes "The Committee to Protect Journalists has published their annual census of journalists in prison. Of the 136 reporters in prison around the world on December 1, 'At least 68 bloggers, Web-based reporters, and online editors are imprisoned, constituting half of all journalists now in jail.' Print was next with 51 cases. Also, 'Freelancers now make up nearly 45 percent of all journalists jailed worldwide, a dramatic recent increase that reflects the evolution of the global news business.' China, Iran, Cuba, Eritrea, and Burma were the top 5 jailers of journalists." rmdstudio writes, too, with word that after the last few days' protest there, largely organized online, the government of Iran is considering the death penalty for bloggers and webmasters whose reports offend it.
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Sharp Rise In Jailing of Online Journalists; Iran May Just Kill Them

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  • Here's a thought (Score:3, Insightful)

    by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @10:22AM (#30364764)
    One good step towards making imprisonment and mistreatment of journalists a big international no-no would be for all the major countries to openly ban their intelligence agencies (the CIA, MI6, etc.) from using operatives posing as journalists, or hiring journalists for intelligence gathering purposes. One of the arguments a lot of these oppressive governments use when they imprison journalists is that these journalists are actually spies. And in at least some cases, they probably actually ARE spies (particularly with freelancers and bloggers with no connection to reputable news organizations). It would be nice if we could at least have the CIA come out openly and bluntly and say to the world community "We don't do this, under any circumstances" the next time some petty tyrant claims that the journalists he's caught are working for the CIA. As it is, anyone wandering into a foreign country and asking questions, journalist or not, is going to be wearing a big target on their chest that says "Possible intelligence operative." The tyrant wouldn't care if we denied it, but it would do a lot to encourage the world community to go to bat for more journalists if they had some sort of assurance that the sanctions they were imposing were on behalf of actual legitimate journalists, not James Bond wannabes with fake press credentials.
    • by Kugala ( 1083127 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @10:24AM (#30364780)
      But what better cover for a spy than a profession that cannot be used as cover for spies?
      • Gee. I love the sourcing on the link about planned executions.

        Maybe the US should just bomb and invade? It has worked so well, elsewhere.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by VShael ( 62735 )

      "We don't do this, under any circumstances"

      And we would believe them

      Because they said the same thing about spying on Americans.
      Or torture.
      Shall we go on?

      • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) *
        With the CYA attitude of the government, they usually avoid out-and-out lying. The way they generally lie is to put in qualifiers in their statements and play with definitions (i.e. "We don't torture" can be true if you don't define waterboarding and other such practices as torture, and have some helpful Justice Dept. memos to back you up). The CIA, when asked about journalists, usually just says something vague like "Our operatives don't pose as journalists." What is needed is a much more thorough and uneq
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by russotto ( 537200 )

          And even if the CIA said all that, and actually meant it... Iran's government wouldn't believe it, or they'd believe the journalists were spies for someone else (e.g. Israel), or they wouldn't care whether it was true or not because it was just an excuse to kill annoying journalists anyway.

        • by jandrese ( 485 )
          If the CIA came out and made such a strong statement like that, every intelligence agency in the world would hear "Our operatives are working for CNN and are in your country." It would be a bloodbath.
    • by MRe_nl ( 306212 )

      and ditto for (doctors and nurses working for) the Red Cross and Médecins Sans Frontières perhaps?

      • I don't know about spies, but isn't it a war crime for troops to pose and Red Cross?
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Avtuunaaja ( 1249076 )
          Yes, but it doesn't really matter to spies because just being a spy is a war crime. Spies that get caught get executed anyway, so what's a little more?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dnwq ( 910646 )
      You can ban it, but who would believe you? There's no way for the CIA to show that it isn't spying even if it really wasn't.
    • by clone53421 ( 1310749 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @10:45AM (#30365082) Journal

      We’ll do that just as soon as Muslim terrorists stop hiding in hospitals and mosques.

      • by gtall ( 79522 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @12:32PM (#30366646)

        and male terrorists veiled like Musliim women...a favorite tactic.

        • Re:Here's a thought (Score:5, Informative)

          by iron spartan ( 1192553 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @02:37PM (#30368360)

          That isn't as effective as you would think. Body language is a huge give away. Women in a burqa with a full veil are very submissive, they look down at almost all times when in public. Men trying to pass as women in a burqa have a hard time copying this. Woman may look up, but if you make eye contact, the look down in a hurry and will not look up again. Men have a tendency to not only look up, but to glare if eye contact is made. Its a dead giveaway.

          And we caught one insurgent who's beard started poking out from under the veil.

    • Not only would they not believe it; but, by some definitions (taking a dictatorial point of view) anyone who makes public information (read as publishes stories) or provides information to foreign governments (read as publishes stories in foreign country), contrary to the official line, or which makes available information which has been suppressed for "security" reasons, is committing espionage.
    • And in at least some cases, they probably actually ARE spies (particularly with freelancers and bloggers with no connection to reputable news organizations).

      Spies are supposed to be inconspicuous and do their best not to draw attention to themselves. If your job is to rile up the public against the government, you might risk being a blogger. If your job is to, well, spy, you'd stay as far away from publicity as you can.

    • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )
      The CIA cannot legally use as a cover that of an American journalist. Oh, and you think an operative is just gonna walk into a country and start asking questions? Most CIA operatives work in Official Cover positions, primarily embassy staff. That assistant press attache that couldnt even hold down a job in a 1-horse town newspaper? Yeah, he works for the CIA. Now, there are of course Non-official cover operatives, and at this point, most of them either work with the military, or doing other missions su
    • This wouldn't be such an issue if they were torturing and imprisioning the right online journalists.

      Dear Tehran,

      Please find attached my list of bloggers I don't like, their IP addresses, home address and a sample of their inain trite drivel ...
  • Who does the most journalist jailing in proportion to the total population? Or to the total number of journalists in the country?
    • Who does the most journalist jailing in proportion to the total population?

      That would probably be Eritrea, 19 journalists in jail, and just over 4 million population.

      Then Cuba, Iran, Burma, China, in descending order.

      • Cuba has a bump because a lot of US reporters go there to annoy them. As well they are less likely to 'disappear' journalists than China/Iran/Burma. Not saying it is right at all. Just saying they have more opportunity to jail journalists. (You don't see so many people running off to Iran to report vs Cuba)...
  • by Vyse of Arcadia ( 1220278 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @10:37AM (#30364972)
    There's going to be a large, violent revolution soon.
    • by Shakrai ( 717556 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @10:47AM (#30365094) Journal

      And yet our President wants to extend a hand to this regime. What's wrong with that picture?

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @10:58AM (#30365256)

        And yet our President wants to extend a hand to this regime. What's wrong with that picture?

        Nothing, this neutralize Iran leaders best weapon: Blame internal troubles on Western powers to squash any protest.

        For once we are smarter then the bad guys and not playing their game.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Shakrai ( 717556 )

          Nothing, this neutralize Iran leaders best weapon: Blame internal troubles on Western powers to squash any protest.

          Except they are still doing that. Don't you know that all of the current troubles are the fault of the British and Americans?

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by spiralpath ( 1114695 )
            The point he was making is that our current outreach to the government weakens that line of propaganda. The Iranian people are becoming aware of this and see their own government's constant anti-Western rhetoric as more and more ridiculous. If they keep doing it they will continue to alienate their population.
          • by Jaysyn ( 203771 )

            Maybe, but now Iran's problem is the rest of the world knows better.

          • The current problems are a direct result of the messing the British and Americans have done in decades past. Iran really is right when it blames the rest of the world for the current situation. Mind you, doesn't mean they have to kill journalists, India has been screwed with a lot too, it doesn't.

        • Obama could spoon Ahmadinejad every night and it would be completely irrelevant. The Iranian media wouldn't report any of it anyway thus negating the whole purpose of these goodwill gestures. And whenever a nation's economy goes to crap the leadership is always quick to blame foreign powers.

          What bothers me is that Obama is unwilling to at least harshly criticize Iran. Instead of standing behind the demonstrators he seems to be more intent on trying to not offend Iran's oppressive leaders. It's really no won

        • are deafening

          No wait, they are not.

          Sorry, but you over estimate the the result.

          First, it does not matter what our leaders do, as long as one American is breathing Arabian air we are in the wrong.

          So whats our new White House going to do? Nothing. Just like they did the last street marches in Iran where many were killed. Oh I know our wonderful President probably stamped his feet but Iran's leadership couldn't give a rats ass about Obama. They have already dismissed him as a credible threat. Obama comple

      • There are two ways to affect change in this case: The stick and the carrot. The stick hasn't worked in 25 years. He's chosen to give the carrot a try.
        • There are two ways to affect change in this case: The stick and the carrot. The stick hasn't worked in 25 years. He's chosen to give the carrot a try.

          Based on the reaction of Iran's government to the "carrot", it's not going to work either. "What? You're going to be nice to us? Great, thanks, we'll start enriching more uranium now"

          Note, by the way, that saying bad things about Iran isn't quite the same thing as using "the stick" on them. The "stick" is usually delivered from a Buff...

          • I'm not saying that I agree with it. The (attempt at) the stick used was economic and trade sanctions. That didn't work. It's clear the Iranian government will do what ever it wants to do in either case.

            There are many delivery methods for "the stick". A Buff is just one of them.

      • Nothing. What do *you* think is wrong with communicating with one's enemies?
        • by Shakrai ( 717556 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @11:25AM (#30365638) Journal

          Communicating != extending a hand to.

          Obama is naive enough to think that a regime that sponsors terrorist organizations is one that can be negotiated with in good faith. He stood mute while they violently crushed their own people a few months ago. The worst part of it all is that he has absolutely nothing to show for his efforts. Iran continues to march towards nuclear capability. They've taken his measure and found him lacking.

          • by ojustgiveitup ( 869923 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @11:50AM (#30365992)
            Ha! That's for the last part where you implied that Iran has shown a hottinanny of interest *who* is in the White House. Actually I guess that goes for the whole thing. The idea that Iran's current political direction has anything to do with the less-than-a-year-old presidency is disingenuously revisionist at best.

            Can we both admit that "communicating" and "extending a hand to" are both woefully simplistic reductions of a complicated diplomatic process, and neither of them really mean anything? Yes, I would have liked Obama to publicly denounce the post-election crack-down, but I also think the administration's assessment that it would be detrimental to the movement was correct. The main propaganda tool used by Iran during that time was that they were putting down violent protests instigated by western powers intent on putting them out of business. That propaganda is more obviously a lie if we stay out of the fray - that may not have mattered to the protesters back then, but it does matter for every protest afterward (like the ones right now). How would speaking up have helped the protesters at that point anyhow? Unless we were willing to back up the words militarily, they would have only been detrimental to the movement. We were not then and are not now prepared to face off with the government Iran in a fight that is, at the end of the day, basically the people of Iran's problem.
            • The problem is that the end game was the same. We're now dealing with the Basij and Revolutionary Guard having occupied every important aspect of Iranian government. Even the Ayatollahs don't appear to matter very much. How could have giving direct assistance actually have hurt the situation? They accused the US and the UK of interfering whether they were or weren't, so why not make it a fact as opposed to a lie?

              I mean, if one good thing were to come out of Iraq, it would be a launching ground for an an

          • He stood mute while they violently crushed their own people a few months ago.

            I'm thinking you're just out to bash Obama, but at the time I recall most people agreeing that the correct course of action was inaction. I still believe it was. Have you already forgotten what happens when the US throws its support behind any group in Iran? The Iranians are obviously a deeply divided people and that's something that they need to work out without outside interference on any side. Once a solution looks imminent, then that's the time to give support. Giving support to the students now wi

      • that since bush pointed out his axis of evil of iraq, iran, and north korea, that one of the three (iraq) was invaded ostensibly because of nuclear research... and none was found. meanwhile, har har, the two that were not invaded have since accelerated their pursuit of nuclear weapons thousandfolds? hey, genius: if bush was more subtle in his approach, maybe the nuclear status of those two vile regimes wouldn't be so far along, did you consider that?

        but i don't think subtly is your strong point. heavy hande

        • by Shakrai ( 717556 )

          that since bush pointed out his axis of evil of iraq, iran, and north korea

          I love how I say absolutely nothing about Bush yet you immediately resort to bringing him up as though it represents sort of meaningful counterpoint. Let me clue you into something: Disagreeing with Barack H. Obama != supporting George W. Bush. I happen to think that Bush did our country a great deal of damage but that's rather irrelevant to the point of whether or not Obama is making wise decisions.

          but i don't think subtly is your strong point. heavy handed arrogance appears to be the only american international attitude you appear ready to support.

          Actually no, the international attitude that I would support would be a return to non-interventionism and

          • but if your criticism is fucking stupid, i will criticize you for being fucking stupid

            which is just as much my right of criticism as yours, right?

            furthermore, bringing up bush is perfectly reasonable in this context. because it is a direct demonstration of the alternative approach to the one obama is taking that you are criticizing. it doesn't mean you support bush. it means: "what you are asking for is what bush did already, and it easily to demonstrate how fucking stupid it was"

            and furthermore, if you wer

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Shakrai ( 717556 )

              bringing up bush is perfectly reasonable in this context. because it is a direct demonstration of the alternative approach to the one obama is taking that you are criticizing.

              I wasn't aware that foreign policy was a binary choice. "Bushism" vs. "Obamaism". Who knew those were the only two choices?

              if you were alive during the bush administration, why didn't you perceive that the approach bush took was so flawed? and if you could have made this observation, which really should be obvious to anyone by now, how can you find the rationale to criticize obama's approach?

              Because I reject your flawed notion that the only two choices available to us are those presented by Bush and Obama. I reject the notion that because Bush sucked I should embrace what Obama is doing. Can I say it any plainer?

              and please don't bring up the abject stupidity of isolationism.

              Non-interventionism != isolationism.

              BTW, the "shift" key is your friend.

              • 1. obama's nuanced approach. intelligent
                2. bush's blunt approach. stupid
                3. non-interventionism. DIFFERENT FUCKING SUBJECT MATTER

                i thought the issue was obama's extending a hand to the iranian regime?

                i did not know obama extending his hand was comparable to military intervention. oh, you didn't say MILITARY intervention? so you meant isolationism. no not that? well then what the hell is nonmilitary nonintervention? what the fuck are you saying?

                here's an amazing wacky concept for you: how about obama extend h

                • by Shakrai ( 717556 )

                  i thought the issue was obama's extending a hand to the iranian regime?

                  Yes, and you responded to my criticism of that choice by presenting a false dichotomy between Obama and Bush.

                  what the fuck are you saying?

                  That Obama's foreign policy is misguided, naive and destined to end in failure. I believe I've been quite clear on this point.

                  here's an amazing wacky concept for you

                  How about we don't extend our hand to brutal regimes that murder their own citizens and support terrorist organizations? How's that for a wacky concept to you? Let them rot on the fucking vine until a responsible Government comes to power.

      • by gtall ( 79522 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @12:48PM (#30366840)

        The best thing Obama could do to whack the Iranian regime is to *leak* Khamenei is secretly working with Washington. Add in a few complimentary intimations that Khamenei has a secret great respect for Israel and Jews in general. It would drive Ahmadinejad nuts. As soon as the shit hit the fan, the State Department should deny any knowledge and loudly claim the CIA has not been in contact with the Basji no matter what SOME in Iran might think; the secret investigation of CIA activities in Iran by DoD has no bearing on this problem. They could also mention there is also no truth to the rumor that Israel sold the Basji their blackjack batons and that no Basji have secretly converted to the CIA's knowledge. Also, that to the U.S.'s knowledge, the plots by the Revolutionary Guard to take out the ruling theocracy because they are not Muslim enough should be discounted as not being far enough along to justify serious comment. The black market the Revolutionary Guard runs isn't generating enough money yet for these sorts of plots to succeed since not enough of the Army has been bought off yet.

    • years at this. I doubt all the angst here in the states or Europe amount to a hill of beans. I see that our current Administrations new stance was accepted with glee by the leaders of Iran who more than likely feel they can now act with impunity since we have a real wimp in the White House.

      Note to the current Administration, Bush didn't create the bad guys by labeling them, they were bad, he just gave us a sign.

      Any successful revolution in that country is not going to come off without outside assistance.

  • Eritrea? (Score:3, Funny)

    by DarthVain ( 724186 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @10:42AM (#30365044)

    OK I get the others, but who the hell are "Eritrea"? They must do a REALLY good job of arresting reporters as I have never heard of this country before!

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by bk2204 ( 310841 )

      It's a country on the northeastern edge of Africa, bordering the Red Sea. It gained independence from Ethiopia in the 1990s.

    • Re:Eritrea? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Xest ( 935314 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @11:15AM (#30365492)

      That's probably because you don't pay much attention to the world. If you had, you may have heard of this African country called Sudan, and a particularly a region in it called Darfur, a place where mass genocide has been going on- in fact, where as many as half a million civilians may have been slaughtered so far. Eritrea is one of the nations that has been accused of supporting the Darfur rebels fighting against the Sudanese government, but has since moved into a mediating position over the crisis.

      To be fair though, part the reason you probably hadn't heard about it is because the world's media was mostly too busy covering middle east stuff like Israel's war with Lebanon. Apparently Israel killing 1000 odd Lebanese, many of which were Hezbollah militans and Hezbollah killing 130 Israelis, many of which were soldiers is somehow so much bigger a tragedy than the 10s of thousands of African civilians that were brutally raped, mutilated and murdered around the same time. For some reason, the tragedy in Darfur and the hundreds of thousands of dead, the hundreds of thousands raped and mutilated and the millions displaced just don't get the attention of the media like a good old fashioned suicide bombing in downtown Baghdad or a verbal spat between the US and Iran.

      So yeah, Eritrea is an African nation with some quite close ties to the Darfur conflict. In it's short existence as a sovereign nation (since 1993 iirc) it's also managed to get itself in fights with Ethiopia, Yemen and possibly even Somalia I believe. It's relatively pro-Western, but not blindly so as there was some fuss about them allowing some militant in that the US claimed had Al Qaeda ties. It borders the red sea towards the North Eastern end of Africa.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Spazztastic ( 814296 )

        As long as there isn't a mainstream movie about it, people won't know/care.

      • by Petersko ( 564140 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @11:58AM (#30366106)
        "That's probably because you don't pay much attention to the world. If you had, you may have heard of this African country called Sudan, and a particularly a region in it called Darfur..."

        I've been glued to world news for most of the last five years and I had to look up Eritrea. I've also never heard of it before.

        You might have made an excellent point after this phrase, or provided some details, but when I read the first line I thought to myself, "Condescending dick." So I never read the rest of your post.
        • "That's probably because you don't pay much attention to the world. If you had, you may have heard of this African country called Sudan, and a particularly a region in it called Darfur..."
          I've been glued to world news...

          I don't mean to be rude, but that there is your problem. The "news" that arrives on your television or radio is highly manipulated and filtered to tailor your thinking. I highly recommend reading the blogs of ordinary citizens or "citizen journalists" in the target area along with your mainstream media. It's quite revealing.

      • by dkf ( 304284 )

        [Eritrea is] relatively pro-Western

        Maybe so, but it does depend on what your baseline is. They've got a bunch of fascists in charge who hate their (much larger) neighbors more than they hate us. They have no oil to speak of though, nor a navy worth the name to cause trouble in the Red Sea, so we ignore them.

      • I have heard all about Darfur and how it is being ignored, and continues to be. That this one of many tiny African countries involved I was not aware.

        Also I know it is getting gray and murky, but weren't the rebels the "good" guys, and the government was the one accused of sponsoring militias that have been going around slaughtering everyone?

        Yes I think you are right, because I don't know this obscure tiny African country that may or may not be involved in supporting rebels, in a conflict that is half way a

    • like east timor

      both countries are recent breakway provinces. eritrea used to be in ethiopia until 1993. east timor used to be in indonesia until 2000. eritrea was a largely muslim area in a largely christian ethiopia. east timor was a largely catholic region in a largely muslim indonesia

      its a shame that religious strife holds the basis for so much grief and fragmentation in this world

      • East Timor, like other chunks of Indonesia, was forceably annexed by Indonesia. Eritrea was annexed by Ethiopia after the collapse of Italy's empire at the end of WWII.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @10:52AM (#30365180)

    Iraq (in U.S. custody): 1
    Ibrahim Jassam, freelance

    Imprisoned: September 2, 2008

    Jassam, a freelance photographer working for Reuters, was detained by U.S. and Iraqi forces during a raid on his home in Mahmoodiya, south of Baghdad, Reuters reported. At the time of the arrest, a U.S. military spokesman told CPJ that the journalist was deemed “a threat to the security of Iraq and coalition forces.”

    In November 2008, the Iraqi Central Criminal Court ruled that there was no evidence to hold Jassam and ordered the U.S. military to release him, Reuters reported. U.S. military authorities rejected the court order, saying that he “continued to pose a serious threat to the security and stability of Iraq.”

    The military has disclosed no evidence against Jassam, and he has never been charged with a crime.

    U.S. troops have detained dozens of journalists—mostly Iraqis—since the war in Iraq began in March 2003, CPJ research found. In at least 12 cases, journalists were held for prolonged periods without charge or due process. In all other cases, the journalists were freed without charges ever being substantiated.

  • How about detaining all Iranian diplomats until all jounalists are freed.

    I know that technically this is not allowed, but then again, jailing innocent people is not a generally accepted practice either.

    • Re:Here's an idea (Score:4, Informative)

      by Nathrael ( 1251426 ) <> on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @11:13AM (#30365462)
      They don't do it because both the US and the UK (the only states who'd have the balls to consider something like that) have (largely) cut bilateral diplomatic relationships with Iran, and neither operate an embassy in said dictatorship, and Iran does not operate embassies in the US or the UK.
    • That is essentially an act of war. So, if your aim is to start one, this might do it.
    • The difference is that the journalists are breaking local laws.
      • Which were likely set up for the express purpose of giving "the man" the excuse they needed to jail them in the first place.

        And don't get me started on the laws broken by the guys now in power.

        By all rights they should be in jail for rigging the election.

        But as has been proven throughout history, when push comes to shove all that ever matters is who is stronger and be damned with morals.

        The journalists are not imprisoned BECAUSE they broke the law, they are imprisoned because the regime wants them gone, and

    • by Ma8thew ( 861741 )
      Jailing diplomats is especially not allowed. It would be a profoundly stupid thing to do, and would basically stop any kind of diplomatic contact between the two countries for decades,
    • (Lybia has playing such a game against Switzerland, BTW)

      Ok, if you start the "let's do it too in retaliation" game, then what differences will be between you and the "eeevil bad guys" your are fighting against ? I mean appart some basic schoolyard excuse as "They started first ?".
      If you lower your standards, you aren't distinguishable any more from the guys you're fighting against. If one day you win, it'll be simply a case of "meet the new boss, same as the old boss".

    • Re:Here's an idea (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Dr. Evil ( 3501 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @11:51AM (#30366010)

      Yeah, jail the diplomats.

      Then we need to get in contact with Tehran. Hmmm... How to do that?

      You know, what we should do is ask Tehran to send people over who speak our language and understand our culture. It'd be such a nice gesture that we should probably give them a place to stay. Maybe they can be put up in the former Iranian embassy. They have lots of tea and a mosque there. Heaps of Persian literature and discount phones to Tehran too.

      We can negotiate with the people in this embassy for the release of the dipolmats. They can call Tehran and set up meetings and stuff.

      Perfect solution.

    • How about detaining all Iranian diplomats until all jounalists are freed.

      All Iranian diplomats huh? Since there aren't any in the US (except occasionally at the UN, and I don't think the UN would approve), should we fly over to Switzerland and kidnap the diplomats working there? Where else should we kidnap people from? Surely this will get our point across.

    • Quick question: what is the mileage on your car? Or on your mom's car as she drives you the 1 mile to school?

  • by BhaKi ( 1316335 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @11:23AM (#30365614)
    I see a sharp rise in "country X is evil" stories.
  • "But regardless of the results, the US is still the world's worst place to be for freedom of the press. Or for anything, really."

  • to kick their Persian behinds one more time...

    • by raddan ( 519638 ) *
      Hey, hate to break it to you, but the Greeks lost the battle at Thermopylae []. They lost the next few battles, too. Fortunately Xerxes got cold feet about being stuck in Europe and ended up withdrawing most of his forces, which allowed the Greeks to repel the remaining forces at Plataea [].
  • by raddan ( 519638 ) * on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @02:19PM (#30368034)
    should have their U.N. member status revoked. Of course, U.N. membership is already somewhat of a farce, the U.N. essentially now being a forum for cronyism, but it would at least take away another venue for people like Ahmadinejad to get up on a podium and spout hatred. Too bad we didn't keep Mossadegh around, huh?
  • Wait and See (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MarkvW ( 1037596 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @03:34PM (#30369182)

    No point in agitating Iran. The US might be able to trigger something, but it couldn't control it. There is no way that the US can CREATE a friendly client-state in IRAN. Only people who get paid to think of ways to create client states think that. The revolution, if it comes, will take its own course.

    It is very important to remember that the theocratic Iranian government has a huge base of support. Students and the intelligentsia have to shift that before they can do anything.

    Iran's got a big problem. It needs technology to oppress its people, but the locals who furnish the technology are the people that the government wants to oppress. Unfortunately, the government has oil money and oil money will finance the purchase of oppression-aiding technology from the "free" countries of the world.

    When the oil runs out, the theocracy will die because it can't afford the oppression. The sadness is that all that oil money could be used to build infrastructure for the people for the future. But it won't. 'Tis a pity.

"I don't believe in sweeping social change being manifested by one person, unless he has an atomic weapon." -- Howard Chaykin