(IPS) Robert Baer, TIME.com’s intelligence columnist and the author of “The Devil We Know: Dealing with the New Iranian Superpower”, told IPS that unfortunately, Saberi has become caught up in the Iranian election cycle, with hardliners trying to prove they’re tougher than their rivals when it comes to national security.
“It was also unfortunate her press credentials were not current, making her an easy target,” said Baer. “When I was in Iran, I did only what Irshad [Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, which oversees foreign journalists] would let me do, even refusing to meet someone from the British embassy or going to private parties.”
“At least she wasn’t taken prisoner by the CIA – she would have been waterboarded by now,” Baer added ironically.
Or at least-
The facts surrounding the trial and imprisonment of the former university professor (Dr. Sami Amin Al-Arian) have severely tarnished the integrity of the American judicial system and made the government’s vaunted campaign against terrorism look capricious, inept and overtly racist.
Government lawyers made wild assertions that showed a profound ignorance of the Middle East and exposed a gross stereotyping of the Muslim world. It called on the FBI case agent, for example, who testified as an expert witness that Islamic terrorists were routinely smuggled over the border from Iran into Syria, apparently unaware that Syria is separated from Iran by a large land mass called Iraq. The transcripts of the case against Al-Arian—which read like a bad Gilbert and Sullivan opera—are stupefying in their idiocy. The government wiretaps picked up nothing of substance; taxpayer dollars were used to record and transcribe 21,000 hours of banal chatter, including members of the Al-Arian household ordering pizza delivery. During the trial the government called 80 witnesses and subjected the jury to inane phone transcriptions and recordings, made over a 10-year period, which the jury curtly dismissed as “gossip.” It would be comical if the consequences were not so dire for the defendant.