On January 13, Press TV journalist/anchor Marzieh Hashemi, an Iranian/American, was unlawfully arrested and detained by the FBI—in the US from Tehran to visit family members.
She was locked in a cage for days, partly in punishing isolation during her ordeal, with minimal family contacts and no legal representation for some days before a public defender was appointed on her behalf.
Her mistreatment flagrantly violated international and US constitutional law—on the pretext of being a material witness to a criminal case her family members know nothing about.
She committed no crime, yet was held uncharged. No probable cause, no grounds whatever, justified her unjustifiable mistreatment, how despotic regimes operate, America the same way—operating extrajudicially while pretending to be democratic.
Marzieh’s mistreatment was likely more about US hostility toward Iran for its sovereign independence and opposition to Washington’s imperial agenda than anything else.
It was also likely related to how Press TV operates, featuring truth-telling on vital issues, polar opposite US-led Western major media managed news misinformation and disinformation—the official narrative drowning out what everyone most needs to know.
Marzieh was unlawfully held as an imperial state hostage until released last Wednesday, one of countless examples of US contempt for rule of law justice.
What happened to her can happen to anyone for any invented reason in America or anywhere else worldwide.
Her gross mistreatment became an international cause célèbre, what very possibly saved her from long-term detention, uncharged and untried, or perhaps disappearing from public view altogether, never to be heard from again.
Her duress without just cause is one of countless examples of what imperialism is all about, a scourge threatening humanity globally, a menace demanding opposition everywhere.
Interviewed by Press TV on Thursday, Marzieh explained what happened was part of harassment by US security personnel she endures whenever traveling to or from one US city to another, saying, “In general, when I travel throughout the United States and domestic flights . . . I always have to be at the airports three to three-and-a-half hours prior to flight just to make it through all obstacles.”
Initially taken by the FBI to a Washington jail on arrival in the city from St. Louis, she was moved to another detention facility and abusively strip-searched.
“Our viewers know me, I am . . . a practicing Muslim, and I do adhere to hijab,” she said, adding. “So for me, a scarf is even important to wear in front of males, and I was subjected to a strip search and I was not allowed to put my scarf on for the mug shot.”
“The overall treatment . . . was one of sheer disrespect, disregard and no one should be treated like this.”
“Yes, I live in Iran. I work in Iran right now, but I do come back and forth into the United States. It is my home and I have the right to come back here whenever I want.”
Put on suicide watch by FBI authorities, she feared for her life. She told a fellow prisoner being released to inform her daughter that “if anything happens to me she knows it’s not from suicide.”
“I will speak out until my last breath always,” she stressed, adding, “They came for me last week. Tomorrow who are they going to go [for]? Who are they going to pick up? When are you going to say enough is enough? And I have to stand up for what is right no matter the cost.”
Marzieh saw America’s ugly face up close and personal, a nation contemptuous of rule of law principles and democratic values—doing whatever it pleases by its own rules alone, making them up to justify what’s unjustifiable.
The US is by far the world’s leading human and civil rights abuser—doing more harm to countless millions of people over a longer duration than any other nation in world history, a scourge to humanity for hundreds of years.
It’s more ruthlessly dangerous today than ever, waging political, economic, financial, sanctions, propaganda, and hot wars globally—blaming victims for high crimes committed against them, targeting all sovereign independent governments for regime change, wanting all nations transformed into US vassal states.
America is obsessed with mass imprisonment and brutalizing treatment, including torture. Countless thousands of political prisoners languish in its global gulag, operating at home and abroad—Blacks, Latinos, and Muslims from the wrong countries most of its victims.
The self-styled “land of the free” is a fascist police state. Anyone can be extrajudicially arrested and detained indefinitely at home and abroad—denied habeas rights, due process and equal protection under law for any reason or none at all.
Countless others have endured the same mistreatment as Marzieh—no one anywhere safe from a nation bent on world dominance, by whatever it takes to achieve its aims.
“How many people just disappear,” Marzieh asked? “It’s mind-boggling that you can be arrested, detained, shackled, not charged with a crime, and I definitely saw it firsthand,” she said.
What happened to her and countless thousands of others reflects America’s deplorable state—at war on humanity to rule the world, risking its destruction if not challenged by people power.
The only solution is popular revolution, perhaps the only chance for humanity to survive.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.