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The Latest: Iranian TV journalist not accused of crime

This undated photo provided by Iranian state television's English-language service, Press TV, shows its American-born news anchor Marzieh Hashemi.  (Press TV via AP)

On Sunday, Jan. 13, FBI agents kidnapped a top international news anchor at the St. Louis airport. Marzieh Hashemi, lead anchor at Press TV, was secretly arrested without charges, shackled, and flown in an “extraordinary rendition” to an undisclosed location in Washington, D.C.

Ms. Hashemi, a Muslim African-American who splits her time between the the U.S. and Press TV's studios in Tehran, has never been charged with any crime. Throughout the week she was secretly imprisoned, stripped of her hijab, denied halal food and subsequently starved for several days. The FBI refused to admit it was holding her, responding to inquiries with only two words: “No comment.”

Finally, after a week of secret detention, federal judge Beryl Howell unsealed information that Ms. Hashemi was being held as a material witness to an unspecified grand jury proceeding. According to a Reuters report, sourced to an unnamed federal official, the grand jury is considering charging Ms. Hashemi’s employer, Press TV, with failing to register as a foreign agent.

If Reuters is correct, the Trump administration must be out of its mind. Most major global media outlets that operate in the U.S., including BBC, Telesur, France 24, Al Jazeera, Reuters itself, and countless others are sponsored by foreign governments and/or the corporations that own those governments, yet none ever register as “foreign agents.”

So why is Trump — or more likely Trump’s neocon henchmen, John Bolton and Mike Pompeo — picking on Press TV and Marzieh Hashemi? Perhaps because Press TV is the only major media outlet in the world that features unfettered free speech and free debate on issues that the Platonic guardians of America’s national security state have declared off-limits.

I know this from personal experience. I have traveled many dozens of times to Channel 3000’s Madison studio where I appear via satellite on Press TV’s “The Debate” show. During those debates I have consistently represented the global Muslim-majority point of view on the so-called War on Terror — a point of view absent from mainstream media. My opponents have included State Department flacks, representatives of major Washington, D.C., think tanks, partisans of Saudi Arabia and Israel, and even an al-Qaeda enthusiast named Anjum Chaudry. As is usually the case at Press TV, the range of viewpoints is vastly wider and more interesting than anything allowed by the gatekeepers of Western media.

Anyone curious about what Muslims (and American dissidents) really think about current events should watch Press TV on a regular basis — while you still can. (The U.S. and Israeli governments have forcibly removed it from satellite TV, and the arrest of Marzieh Hashemi suggests they want to completely shut it down.)

Meanwhile, the U.S. complains that Iran is holding a few Iranian-American journalists. If the CIA would end Operations Mockingbird and Ajax and stop using journalistic cover for agents tasked with overthrowing Iran’s government, Iran might stop arresting them as suspected spies.

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We need regime change in Trump’s Washington, not in Tehran. #Free MarziehHashemi!

Kevin Barrett, Ph.D., a former university teacher, is a long time 9/11 truth activist, author, talk radio host, nonprofit organizer, and pundit on a number of international channels. His website is www.TruthJihad.com. You can watch him on Press TV at https://kevinbarrett.heresycentral.is/category/press-tv-interviews/

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