Sunday, August 2, 2009

Show-trials in Tehran

The spirit of Stalin is alive and well. The New York Times:
The Iranian authorities opened an extraordinary mass trial against more than 100 opposition figures on Saturday, accusing them of conspiring with foreign powers to stage a revolution through terrorism, subversion, and a media campaign to discredit last month’s presidential election.

The Tehran Trials seem echo strongly of the Moscow Trials. In the Moscow Trials, Joseph Stalin liquidated all of the "Old Bolsheviks", as well as the entire Politburo, and the purge eventually spread to the general populace, and the secret police were given quotas of people who had to be tried. The (initial) logic of the show trials was to liquidate anyone who could possibly challenge the Stalin's authority.
The Iranian show-trials target reformist Iranian politicians. The even have the classic "confessions".These confessions were clearly obtained under torture. The radio program This American Life recently had a program in which a liberal Iranian journalist describes how he was tortured until he signed a wrote a confession admitting to be a agent of the United States attempting to foment a "color revolution". The segment points out that there have been forced confessions of reformists and journalist being aired on Iranian TV for a decade. The process of torture and eventual confession to bizarre conspiracies is almost identical to the practices of the Soviet government.
The program notes that confessions all have a sameness. Each one was written by the elements of the Revolutionary Guards. The have a preponderant worry about foreign governments, such as the United States and Britain, and with the CIA. The confessions also almost always talk about fomenting a "velvet revolution". These obsessions are easily enough explained, about hlf a century ago, the CIA did indeed over-throw the government of Iran, and the fact that the Revolutionary Guards are so concerned with a "Velvet Revolution" is because they know the regime is vulnerable to such an uprising. To get some idea of the strange paranoia of the Iranian Revolutionary of the conservative Iranian establishment, watch this video.

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