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Iran’s Fellow Travelers at the New York Times 

Tourists walk on a platform at a station in Tehran after arriving in the Iranian capital on a luxury train from Budapest on October 27, 2014. The tourists from Germany, Russia, Switzerland, Denmark, Britain, Australia, Spain, Singapore and Turkey spent two weeks visiting Tabriz, Zanjan, Yazd, Isfahan, Shiraz before arriving in Tehran for their flight back to Istanbul, on a trip reportedly costing up to $31,000. AFP PHOTO/ATTA KENARE (Photo credit should read ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images)

For $7,000, the newspaper’s journalists will serve as tour guides to the Islamic Republic. (Evin Prison is not on the itinerary.)

James Kirchick writes: On Nov. 23, the New York Times published its latest of more than half-a-dozen articles pleading for the Iranian government to release Jason Rezaian, the Washington Post’s Tehran correspondent who was imprisoned on charges of espionage more than 16 months ago. “Western officials hoped that the nuclear agreement would usher in a new era of broader cooperation with Iran,” the editorial board wrote. “But as they begin taking steps to ease economic sanctions on Iran, as called for in the deal, the treatment of Mr. Rezaian has intensified their concerns about whether Iran can be trusted to fulfill its nuclear commitments.”

The editorial’s most recent admonishment, like those that preceded it, managed to elide some relevant details about the newspaper’s relationship to the subject matter. First, the Times editorial board would clearly count as a member of any group looking forward to “a new era of broader cooperation with Iran.” Second, the Times has done far more than merely “hope” for such cooperation. While the newspaper has been demanding the release of an American journalist — one now facing a prison sentence of indeterminate length — some of its own journalists, under the auspices of their employer, have been engaging in a commercial enterprise that benefits his captors.

“Tales from Persia” is the exotic name the Times has given to the 13-day getaway to Iran it operates. For $7,195 (not including airfare), participants are invited to join columnist Roger Cohen, editorial board member Carol Giacomo (who is leading the trip that is currently ongoing), or Paris correspondent Elaine Sciolino and hear their insights about “the traditions and cultures of a land whose influence has been felt for thousands of years.” The itinerary for the seven upcoming departures promises “beautiful landscapes, arid mountains and rural villages.” Needless to say, Evin Prison, where the Iranian government houses political prisoners and Rezaian continues to languish, is not among the stops, though a visit to the home of the late Ayatollah Khomeini is. Read the rest of this entry »

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Syrian Refugees Have Been Resettled In 36 States, Most In California, Texas, and Michigan

AP Photo

Monday CNS News reported that the vast majority of Syrian refugees that have been resettled in the U.S. are Sunni Muslim and very few are Christians or other religious minorities.

Caroline May reports: Since the start of the Syria’s civil war in the spring of 2011, the U.S. has admitted 2,311 Syrian refugees and resettled them in 36 different states.

According to data from the State Department’s Refugee Processing Center the top three destinations for Syrian refugees since the beginning of the conflict are California, Texas, and Michigan.

From March 15, 2011 through December 1, 2015, California received the most (261) Syrian refugees, Texas received the second most with 242, and Michigan has received the third most with 217.

Other states that have received Syrian refugees since March 2011 include: Arizona (182), Illinois (170), Pennsylvania (161), Florida (142), Kentucky (101), New Jersey (99), Ohio (89), Massachusetts (72), Georgia (69), North Carolina (56), New York (55), Connecticut (51), Maryland (43), Tennessee (42), Indiana (39), Washington (38), Idaho (37), Missouri (29), Virginia (26), Colorado (18), Louisiana (14), Utah (12), Kansas (8), Nevada (8), Minnesota (7), New Mexico (6), Oregon (6),New Hampshire (3), Oklahoma (3), Wisconsin (2), Arkansas (1), Maine (1), and West Virginia (1). Read the rest of this entry »


OH YES THEY DID: Iran ‘Convicts’ Hostage American Reporter In Secret Trial

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John Hayward reports: “News of a verdict in Tehran’s Revolutionary Court initially came early Sunday, but court spokesman Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei did not specify the judgment,” reports Rezaian’s paper, the Washington Post“In a state TV report late Sunday, Ejei said definitively that Rezaian was found guilty.”

“The judge who heard the case is known for handing down harsh sentences, and Rezaian potentially faces a sentence of 10 to 20 years. It is not even known if Rezaian himself has been informed of the conviction.”

The Iranians have not specified what Rezaian is guilty of or what his sentence will be. The “trial” wrapped up two months ago. Rezaian has already been imprisoned in Iran for 14 months. He has now been held hostage longer than the Americans seized in Tehran under President Jimmy Carter, a milestone Rezaian passed over the weekend.

“The judge who heard the case is known for handing down harsh sentences, and Rezaian potentially faces a sentence of 10 to 20 years,” the Post ominously notes. “It is not even known if Rezaian himself has been informed of the conviction.” His Iranian lawyer also appeared to be unaware of the conviction.

[Read the full text here, at Breitbart.com]

“Iran has behaved unconscionably throughout this case, but never more so than with this indefensible decision by a Revolutionary Court to convict an innocent journalist of serious crimes after a proceeding that unfolded in secret, with no evidence whatsoever of any wrongdoing,” said Washington Post executive editor Martin Baron in a statement. Read the rest of this entry »