From Workers Liberty:
Iranian trade unionist Shahrokh Zamani has been imprisoned since June 2011.
His crime? Attempting to build independent trade unions to stand up for his and fellow workers’ rights.
Sharokh, a member of the Painters’ Union, was charged with “propaganda”, “endangering national security”, and “participating in an illegal organisation”.
International human rights organisations say that Shahrokh has been physically and psychologically abused, denied medication, and denied visitors.
Shahrokh is a class-war prisoner. If we allow the Iranian state to get away with crushing him, it will be a defeat for all those fighting for workers’ rights in Iran, and around the world.
Between now and January 2014, we will be seeking to collect 10,000 signatures in workplaces, universities, colleges, schools, and communities to demand Shahrokh’s release.
Please support the campaign. Email email@example.com or ring 07775 763 750 for more information. Visit the campaign website here.
Those fearless, insightful people who dare break with the establishment consensus and put forward the only real explanation for terrorism – ‘blowback’ – are rarely heard, such is the conspiracy of silence and denial they’re up against. Very occasionally, the wall of silence is breached and their profound thoughts on the subject get published . Here, here, here here and here for instance.
But even at the New Statesman, which published Mehdi Hasan’s courageous and groundbreaking article ‘Extremists point to western foreign policy to explain their acts, Why do we ignore them? the carping voices of denial are to be heard. On the letters page this week, one Simon Jarrett of Harrow, writes:
If Mehdi Hasan were to follow his own logic, he would now be poring through the 180,000-word rant against multiculturalism written by Anders Behring Breivik, trying to find points of compromise on immigration and cultural mixing that would reduce the future possibility of such acts as the killing of 77 Norwegians. Breivik, like the two murderers of Drummer Lee Rigby, was a fascist “performing” terrorist murder as “political communication by other means.”
Meanwhile at the New Statesman blog, even someone who agrees with Mehdi about foreign policy, thinks there might just be a little bit more to it all…
I keep promising myself (and readers) that I’ll never write another word about that posturing charlatan Galloway. But for a blogger, he’s the gift that just keeps on giving:
George Galloway: “But there have been achievements in North Korea. They do have a satellite circling the earth. They have built a nuclear power industry even though they suspended it on false promises from President Clinton and other U.S. statesmen. They do have a cohesive, pristine actually, innocent culture. A culture that has not been penetrated by globalization and by Western mores and is very interesting to see. But I wouldn’t like to live there. And I’m not advocating their system. Not least because they certainly don’t believe in God in North Korea…”
H/t: Pete Cookson
From the International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran (IASWI):
Reza Shahabi, an Iranian labour leader imprisoned since June 2010, went on hunger strike on 17 Dec 2012 to protest against mistreatment by jail guards as well as prevention of his medical treatment by the judicial authorities.
Reza Shahabi’s physical conditions have deteriorated. He has announced that he will refuse taking his medication and eating food until he is allowed to be transferred to a hospital outside prison for complete treatment.
Mr. Reza Shahabi who had gone under major surgery of his neck, and according to doctors’ recommendations was in need of at least “two months rest at home”, and “incapable of withstanding any further punishment,” was sent back to Ward 350 of Evin prison on August 14, 2012. Since then, his health deteriorated significantly. In addition, his jail guards have be very insulting and he has been threatened recently by one of his guards. Reza was taken to hospital on December 15, 2012 but the jail guard accompanying him refused to allow him for proper examination and forced Reza, with threats of beating and assaulting him, to go back to prison.
Reza Shahabi is the Treasurer and Executive Board member of the Syndicate of workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, which belongs to the Municipality of Tehran and has more than seventeen thousand employees. All Executive board members of this union have been persecuted, dismissed and many were jailed since the formation of the Syndicate in 2005. He has recently been sentenced to 6 year imprisonment and five year ban on all union activities as well as 7 million Toman fine; the appeal court seems to have confirmed his sentence for four years imprisonment, five year ban on all union activities and 7 million toman penalty. Reza Shahabi’s health deteriorated significantly after severe beatings and mistreatment following his arrest. The authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran are directly responsible for any consequence resulting from continued imprisonment and mistreatment of Reza Shahabi.
Below: sample protest letter. Reza Shahabi must be immediately released and promptly treated.
I (we) are writing to protest the continued persecution of labour activist and the gross violation of workers’ rights in Iran. We continue to witness many labour activists brutally persecuted and unjustly imprisoned in Iran. In particular, I am seriously concerned about the health and well being of Reza Shahabi. Reza Shahabi, the executive board member and treasurer of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran Bus Workers’ Company, has been incarcerated for more than two and half years. Shahabi was severely beaten during his interrogation in detention. He underwent cervical spine operation on July 24, 2012. Medical doctors have been recom- mending treatment of his back as well. Contrary to doctors’ recommendations, Shahabi was sent back to Ward 350 of Evin prison on August 14, 2012. Since then, his health has been drastically deteriorated. On December 17th, 212, Reza Shahabi went on hunger strike to protest intimidating behaviour of his jail guard as well as the continued lack of proper medical treatment. He has also refused to take any medication.
I (we) strongly condemn the unjust arrest and sentence against Reza Shahabi and other labour activists. I (we) also denounce ongoing persecution and arrests of labour activists in Iran. I (we) demand the immediate and unconditional freedom of Reza Shahabi and all detained labour activists in Iran.
Please send your protests letters to: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; avaei@Dadgostary- tehran.ir; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; CC: email@example.com
Have you noticed how many of those people who’ve recently been writing about Salman Rushdie and expressing varying degrees of horror at the Ayatollah’s muderous fatwa, just have to throw in a little aside about Rushdie’s alleged arrogance, lack of self-awareness, or simply not being a very nice person? The slippery Pankaj Mishra in the Graun even berated Rushdie (in the context of the fatwa) for ”peevish righteousness” against “those who criticised or disagreed with him.” (http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/sep/18/joseph-anton-salman-rushdie-review).
Now, I don’t know Mr Rushdie and so if writers in the Graun and elsewhere are saying he’s not a nice man, etc, then who am I to disagree? What I can tell you, however, is that he’s certainly a more forgiving person towards at least one of those who betrayed him in 1989, than I would be.
Let’s be clear about this: what was at stake then and in the years that followed was a fundamental question of freedom of expression. It was, to put it simply, a battle between the forces of enlightenment (actually, The Enlightenment) and the forces of barbarism. There was no middle ground. Rushdie’s enemies included not just the cynical, fascist, rulers of Iran and some Muslim people foolish enough to allow themselves to be influnced by them, but also plenty of non-Muslims including some Western “liberals.”
The list of writers, commentators and so-called “intellectuals” in the West who scabbed on Rushdie (and I’m omitting those who merely equivocated) is a despicable role of shame: John Berger, Germaine Greer, Roald Dahl, Jimmy Carter and (probably nastiest of all) John le Carré, who accused Rushdie of (you guessed it) “arrogance” and “self-canonisation.” The treachery of la Carré led to a long-running feud between him and Rushdie (the latter vigorously supported by Christopher Hitchens).
As far as I’m concerned the likes of le Carré are simply beneath contempt and branded, forever, with infamy. In fact, I’d go so far as to agree with David Aaronovitch that:
It is a conceit of the British that, had fascism come to this country or we been invaded, then our reaction would have been very different from that of, say, the French. In those non-Muslims who attacked Rushdie, who blamed him for stirring things up, who argued that the book should not be published in paperback, who said that he had brought the danger on himself and publicly resented the costs of his protection, you see the same arguments and psychology that would have justified collaboration with totalitarianism.
Well, it seems old Salman isn’t quite as peevish and self-important as has been made out: according to today’s Times, Rushdie (speaking at the Cheltenham Literature Festival), expressed his regret for the quarrel with le Carré. “I wish we hadn’t done it,” he said. “I think of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy as one of the great novels of postwar Britian.”
He added that la Carré had also expressed regret: “He’s a proud man, David Cornwell [la Carré's real name -JD], but he said, ‘If I was wrong, I was wrong for the right reasons.’”
That would not be good enough for me. But then, I’m obviously more “peevish” than Rushdie.
NB: Before they made up: the Rushdie-le Carré exchanges, http://www.rjgeib.com/thoughts/burning/le-carre-vs-rushdie.html
H/t (for the Aaronovitch quote): prof Norm, http://normblog.typepad.com/normblog/2012/09/blaming-salman.html
Wikileaks a CIA operation (part 2)
“As the NATO alliance inches closer to a military attack on Syria, a new front in the destabilization of the Damascus government has been opened by the intelligence agencies of the Western powers. The vehicle chosen by the CIA and its allies for this new assault is once again the shadowy limited hangout operation calling itself Wikileaks, and its chief spokesman, the Australian Julian Assange,” author and historian Dr. Webster Griffin Tarpley wrote in the article published on Friday.
Tarpley said that Assange and his staffers released “some 2.43 million e-mails by Syrian government officials, politicians, and companies doing business” with Damascus to “discredit the Syrian government, and even more to harass companies in the NATO sphere who are working as contractors for Damascus.”
. . .
He went on to say that the website is “complicit in the violent overthrow of the Syrian government by the NATO-backed death squads.”
“Assange has now taken refuge in the Ecuador Embassy in London. By contrast, US soldier Bradley Manning, who is accused of providing the raw material for Cablegate, has been brutalized by the US government ever since his arrest. The radically different treatment given these two has been a cause for comment,” the American author wrote.
Commenters to this article have a more nuanced take:-
The fact that Wiki always chooses to “reveal” certain info against specific countries and at specific times is a clear indication of its political complicity. And, more significantly, its Zio-friendly stance reveals its allegiance to CIA-Mossad.
It was obvious that he was a tool in the hands of the Zionist disinformation machine.But I`m not sure if he managed to contribute with his secrets disclosure in anything than mere gossip.
like Al-Qaida Wikileak too is ffiliated to CIA and was created by US Regime. No nation in the world can match US in Treachery. US, Al-Qaida, Wikileak, Arab League, all on the same side and same train in Syria.
I have to sit here and laugh anyone would believe Assange. If the US government wanted him – they would have had him by now. He’s CIA/Mossad! [That theory is especially comprehensive.)
Assange – antisemite and tool of Zionism, crazed hater of the USA and CIA plant, hounded by corrupt judiciaries and protected by them. No wonder his hair has gone white.
From the (Iranian) Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers’ Organizations, via LabourStart:
« URGENT ACTION: Reza Shahabi given 6 years sentence. Massive clampdown on Iranian labour activists »
Mahmoud Saleh and 59 activists arrested On Friday 15th June at noon, 60 members of the Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers’ Organizations and a number of labour activists were arrested by agents of Karaj city.
According to the latest news, Mitra Homayooni, Vafa Ghaderi, Reyhaneh Ansari, Khaled Hosseini, Mahmoud Salehi, Saeed Moghaddam, Cyrus Fathi, Ghaleb Hosseini, Mohammad Abdipour, Jalal Hosseini, Alireza Asgari, Masoud Salimpour, Abbas Andriyany, Sediq Amjadi, Fattah Soleimani, Maziar Mehrpour, Mhommad Molanai, Vahed Seyyedeh, Jalil Sharifian, Sediq Khosravi, Yusuf Ab Kharabad, Faramarz Fetrat Nejad, Jalil Mohammadi, Nezam Sadeghi, Afshin Nadimi, Hussain Pilooti, Rahman Ebrahim Zadeh, Abbas Hashem Poor are among the detainees. (If new names appear, they will be added to the list).
The detainees were transferred to Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj and until now no further news is available. We, members of the Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers’ Organizations, condemn the arrest of the members and other workers activists. We demand the immediate release of all workers activist. We expect all workers activists and organizations to protest against these arrestments.
Further news will be announced later
- Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers’ organizations
UPDATE: As of 16 June, nine still remain in the custody of the intelligence office. Others including Salehi have been released. They are believed to be:- Cyrus Fathi, Alireza Asqari, Jalil Mohammadi, Saeed Marzban, Masood Salim Pour, Maziar Mehrpour, Reyhaneh Ansari, Faramarz Fetrat Nejad and Mitra Homayouni.
Visit our website. www.justiceforiranianworkers.org
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|AMNESTY URGENT ACTION for Reza Shahabi and Zabihollah Bagheri
TRADE UNIONIST GIVEN SIX-YEAR PRISON SENTENCE
Iranian trade unionist Reza Shahabi has been sentenced to six years ‘ imprisonment on vaguely worded charges . He is in poor health, and it is not clear whether he is receiving all necessary medical treatment. Another trade unionist is missing after being arrested.Reza Shahabi (also known as Reza Shahabi Zakaria), the Treasurer of the Union of Workers of the Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (Sherkat-e Vahed), has been detained in Evin Prison in the Iranian capital, Tehran, since June 2010. He is in poor health after numerous hunger strikes in protest at the conditions in which he is held. Since around February 2012, he has complained that one side of his body was numb. However, it was not until 30 April that the prison authorities took him to hospital. It is not clear whether he is receiving adequate medical treatment.CONTINUE READING>>>http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE13/027/2012/en/9ac58cc8-096f-46fe-8bac-c8ed14738855/mde130272012en.html
* * * * *
By email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Reza Shahabi and Zabihollah Bagheri
I would like you to convey to the authorities in Tehran the concern of the British trade union movement about the situation of our fellow trade unionists Reza Shahabi and Zabihollah Bagheri.
We understand that Reza Shahabi is serving a six-year prison sentence as a result of vague charges, and is in poor health. We would urge the Iranian Government to ensure he is provided with the medical treatment he needs, is protected from torture or other ill-treatment, and is released immediately and unconditionally as he is held solely for his peaceful trade union activities.
We have been informed that Zabihollah Bagheri was arrested on or about 24 April as he left the Moharakeh Steel Plant in Estahan. We would be grateful if you could confirm his whereabouts and urge the regime in Tehran to provide access to him for his family and his lawyer, as well as protecting him from torture or other ill-treatment, and freed as soon as possible.
The Islamic Republic of Iran is a member of the International Labour Organisation and therefore is bound to uphold the core conventions of the ILO including freedom of association. The treatment of independent trade unionists like Reza Shahabi and Zabihollah Bagheri is completely at odds with your Government’s international obligations.
I look forward to your reply on these matters.
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From Britain to the Middle East – women fight back!
A meeting to celebrate International Women’s Day, organized by Women’s
Fightback and the Organisation of Women’s Freedom in Iraq
7.15pm, Thursday 8 March
Room B102, Brunei Gallery, School of Oriental and African Studies,
Thornaugh Street, London WC1H (Euston, Goodge Street or Russell Square tube)
Janine Booth, RMT National Exec and London Underground activist (pc)
Houzan Mahmoud, Organisation of Women’s Freedom in Iraq
Dr Sami Zubaida, professor of politics and sociology, University of
Diba Ali Kani, Association in Support of Women in Iran
Chair: Esther Townsend, Workers’ Liberty
The economic crisis since 2008 has seen both huge attacks on women’s rights and the growth of feminist organising and activism as a response. Women have been at the forefront of the protests in Britain, the huge strike waves in Greece, USA, across Europe, and the revolutionary movements still sweeping North Africa and the Middle East.
But we are also under severe threat, from the Tories’ cuts and bigoted moralism in Britain to the danger of Islamist counter-revolution in North Africa. At the same time, we face a struggle to make our own movements open, accessible and responsive to women, whether that’s the trade unions, Occupy movement, the student movement, or socialist organisations.
Come and join us for an evening of celebration and discussion about the fight for women’s liberation today.