USA v. Distinguished Iranian/American Journalist Marzieh Hashemi
Distinguished Press TV journalist/anchor’s unlawful arrest, detention and mistreatment by the FBI, on the pretext of being a material witness regarding a case her family knows nothing about, gave the US another international black eye.
What happened captured world headlines, hopefully enough to help hasten Marzieh’s release. Press TV, the Tehran Times, and other Iranian media continue giving the case extensive coverage.
International print and electronic media have had feature stories on what happened – including RT, Sputnik News, the NYT, Washington Post, AP News, Reuters, CBS, NBC, and ABC News, CNN, Fox News, Al Jazeera, the BBC, London Guardian, Haaretz, and numerous other outlets.
They’ve elevated Marzieh’s status as a distinguished international journalist to an even higher level than before what happened – by highlighting her unacceptable arrest, detention, and mistreatment uncharged.
They explained what the NYT wrote as follows, saying “no reason (was) given for her arrest…(H)er Islamic head scarf (was) forcibly removed…(S)he was chained hand and foot, and…denied access to halal food and had eaten only crackers.”
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif denounced what happened, saying “(t)he custody of Iran’s reporter in the US is highly political, and she should be released immediately.”
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said the following:
“The imprisonment of a reporter who is nonwhite and enters the US demonstrates how the approach of Mr. Trump’s government is based on racist and discriminatory policies within an apartheid regime. We hope that this innocent person is unconditionally released soon.”
Tehran Times editor Muhammad Qaderi said her mistreatment shows the real face of the US to the world community.
The Iranian High Council for Human Rights called “her violent and humiliating treatment” a brazen example of arbitrary arrest and detention, accusing the US of “illegal, unjustifiable and anti-human rights measures” – a flagrant violation of her fundamental rights, how Washington operates domestically and abroad.
Program coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Alexandra Ellerbeck expressed concern about Marzieh’s arrest and detention. She “call(ed) on the US Department of Justice to immediately disclose the basis for her detention…”
Her colleague and friend Nader Talevzadeh called her arrest a “concocted (US) plan,” part of its hostility toward the Islamic Republic. “This is intimidation and a provocation against Iran,” he stressed.
Marzieh is unlawfully held by the FBI at an undisclosed Washington location with minimal family contact and no legal representation for days.
Reportedly a lawyer has now been appointed on her behalf. Most so-called public defenders woefully ill-serve clients with little time available to present a proper defense everyone deserves in judicial proceedings.
According to federal authorities, Marzieh appeared twice before a US district judge on Friday, an appointed lawyer representing her.
A partially unsealed order for her arrest and detention provided no information about what happened and why, other than she’s held as a material witness to an unspecified criminal case her family knows nothing about.
She’s detained to give grand jury testimony. Witnesses before these proceedings are only present during their testimony to a prosecutor and grand jurors, no judge or legal representation present.
Conducted to determine if a crime was committed, proceedings are secret, a majority of jurors required for an indictment to be issued.
Witnesses are required to answer questions by a prosecutor and jurors, criminal suspect(s) usually not present during proceedings.
Prosecutors try to establish probable cause to indict. They manipulate grand juries, gaming the system to get judgments they seek, justice denied time and again. Proceedings often amount to a sword for injustice, not a shield against it.
Witnesses accused of nothing can be indicted if prosecutors claim they gave false or misleading testimonies. They’re not told of the risk, making them vulnerable if this was the prosecutorial intent for demanding their testimony.
Clever ones can manipulate witnesses to unwittingly mislead. Anything said under oath or otherwise can be used against them. Given extreme US hostility toward Iran, Marzieh is vulnerable to a gross miscarriage of justice – besides what she’s endured so far.
A US citizen working in Iran for the past decade, dividing her time between both countries, she explained her conversion to Islam as follows, saying she “was born in a religious Christian family, and since 26 or 27 years ago I have become Muslim,” adding:
“For me, embracing Islam is directly in relation to Islamic revolution of Iran and the characteristic of Imam Khomeini.”
“When I was a student in America, I witnessed that the Iranian students are so active and I was so interested in political activities then, I used to ask them about their activities and purposes, why you protest?”
“And they used to talk about the cruelty of the overset king and Imam Khomeini to me, and this was the first step for me becoming Muslim.”
“I was looking for the truth and I wasn’t satisfied with my own religion, and I had no solution for the problem that the God has three parts of the Father, and the Son, and the holy Sprit, But still where one?”
“I wasn’t convinced with answers when I asked from different people, when this issue happened to be in university, I started to study not only about Islam but about different religions, and simultaneously comparing them in theory and ideology, from Max Weber up to now, and thank God after I became Muslim.”
Explaining her career in journalism, she said “I am a Press TV correspondent and the editor in chief of Mahjubah magazine in America. I am a presenter and political analyst.”
“Press TV is the first 24-hour English Channel in Iran. From the beginning of the Attack of America against Iraq, the people are watching it to know about the stand point of Iran and what Iran says, because the other channels weren’t covering the war, and it played a considerable role in Israel’s (undeclared war on) Gaza, so people are watching it to find out the truth and reality.”
Marzieh’s son Hossein fears she’ll be detained for an indefinite period, hopeful things will turn out otherwise, saying “(i)t doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. (W)e’re waiting to hear more.”
In March 2011, Obama’s Executive Order 13567 authorized indefinite detentions and military commission trials – violating America’s Fifth Amendment, stating:
“No person…shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law” – constitutional law the US consistently breaches.
In December 2011, America’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) legitimized unconstitutional and international law prohibited indefinite detentions – everyone potentially vulnerable, including US citizens without just cause.
No proof is needed, no habeas, due process or equal protection afforded anyone targeted. The 1215 Magna Carta states the following:
“No free man (woman or child) shall be seized, or imprisoned, or stripped of his (or her) rights or possessions, or outlawed, or exiled, or deprived of his (or her) standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him (or her), or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgment of his (or her) equals, or by the law of the land.”
“Due process of law” later substituted for “the law of the land.” It’s inviolable, breaching it flagrantly unconstitutional. The Fifth Amendment’s due process guarantee applies to US federal, state and local governance, no exceptions permitted.
Yet targeted individuals are extrajudicially arrested and detained at home and abroad, held indefinitely uncharged and untried, based on suspicions, hearsay, secret evidence, or any other pretext.
Constitutional law and Supreme Court rulings, affirming the inviolability of due process and equal protection rights, are breached by the US time and again.
Friday district court proceedings provided no information about Marziah’s detention, other than explaining she’s not accused of a crime – not so far.
What the Trump regime has in mind is unknown until things unfold ahead. Marziah is being used, a victim of US contempt for the fundamental rights of everyone, doing whatever it pleases unaccountably.
Reuters cited an unnamed US federal source, saying Press TV is being investigated as an Iranian “propaganda outlet.”
It’s a preeminent truth-telling news service, featuring distinguished guests, providing in-depth information on major world issues, explaining what everyone needs to know.
It’s polar opposite managed news misinformation and disinformation featured by US and other Western media, suppressing what should be featured.
It’s unclear what’s ahead for Marzieh. It’s very clear that her arrest, detention and mistreatment constitute flagrant constitutional and international law violations.
What happened to her and countless others in America can happen to anyone. Their struggle for justice is ours!
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”