By now, most people know that the Iranian regime treats its dissidents with unrestrained barbarity. Even the leading dead tree media have reported anecdotally on the torture of prisoners and the bashing, beating, axing and stabbing of protestors in the streets of the major cities. But it is not easy to get a clear picture of the dimensions of the savagery. It’s hard to get the real numbers on the bloody repression the mullahs have unleashed on their people, and one reason–perhaps the most important one–is that the regime is doing everything in its power to conceal the facts, typically using the same cruel methods that filled the prisons in the first place.
Officially, the regime claims only 37 dead since the demonstrations began on the 12th of June, but about 1800 persons remain unaccounted for. The real figure is very close to five hundred known dead. And, according to reliable sources, the morgues still have a stockpiles of about 400 corpses. Each day three to four corpses are released to relatives.
The release of the cadavers follows a singularly macabre procedure. Close relatives, such as mothers, are ordered to report to a particular prison. Upon arrival they are immediately – and totally unexpectedly – jailed for two days. After these two days they are told that they can be released but that they first have to sign a secrecy pledge about their treatment and a declaration that their loved one had died of “innocent causes,” such as a car crash. The regime uses several other non-torture related death causes, such as brain injury, heart surgery, etc.
After signing the papers the relative can receive the corpse. Upon receipt of the corpse of the [mainly young] man or woman, the real cause of death–brutal torture–becomes obvious. They see their loved one totally beaten up, nails pulled out, evidence of rape, bodies covered with so many burns that it is difficult to recognize the dead person, and the like.
Despite the secrecy pledge, these horrendous details are now emerging and even members of the usually very loyal part of the clergy are now disgusted and upset. Indeed, there is so much disgust with the supreme leader and his men, that the country is inundated by leaks from the highest level of the regime.
The most famous of these leaks were contained in a letter written by one of the leaders of the opposition Green Movement, Mehdi Karroubi, to his sometime ally, Hashemi Rafsanjani, who still sits in the country’s two most powerful “legislative” bodies, the Guardian Council and the Council of Experts.
Karroubi’s letter was published on August 9th in a newspaper close to his group, and then reprinted on the reformist Norooz web site. The principal accusation was the sexual torture of prisoners. Citing “people who hold sensitive positions in the regime,” Karroubi wrote:
Some of the detainees say that [certain] people [in the prisons] are raping girls who have been arrested, causing them vaginal tearing and injuries. They are also raping young boys, causing them depression and severe physical and emotional harm… so that [after their release] they hide in the corners of their homes.
In light of the gravity of [these allegations], I expect you, as head of the Assembly of Experts, [to form] a committee to will investigate and deal with this matter objectively and transparently…
Although the rape of prisoners is a longstanding practice in the Islamic Republic, the letter produced a considerable outcry. The Parliament appointed a special investigator, who said he could not digest the horrible details (or perhaps face the consequences to himself if he submitted an accurate report), and promptly resigned. But his resignation was rejected. Meanwhile Karroubi himself has left Tehran for his native Lorestan, where he can count on the protection of his people.
Iranian Prosecutor-General Ayatollah Qorban Ali Dori Najafabadi acknowledged that some detainees have been tortured in prison, saying: “Mistakes have led to some unfortunate and indefensible incidents, and those involved will have to be punished.” This includes many reported incidents at Kahrizak prison, where prisoners were killed, and which has [since] been closed on Khamenei’s orders. According to an August 9th article in Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), Mr. Hamid-Reza Katouzian, a member of a Majlis committee formed to monitor the situation of the protest detainees, said that Iranian Police Chief Esmail Ahmadi-Moqaddam received daily reports about torture at this prison, contrary to his public claims that he had known nothing and that he had believed the prisoners had died of natural causes.
Despite all this, Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani (the West’s favorite Iranian diplomat) announced yesterday (the thirteenth) that a Parliamentary investigation had found Karroubi’s claims to be false, and demanded that he present his evidence.
These horrible events, all in the name of preserving the pure faith, suggest a system that has gone berserk. The rape of virgin women is justified by a deranged appeal to sharia law, according to which virgins will go to heaven. Ergo, according to the warped logic of the torturers, it is necessary to ensure that women guilty of capital offenses not be virgins, so that they will go elsewhere in the afterlife. But, notwithstanding Ahmadinezhad’s celebrated claim in New York that there are no gay people in Iran, homosexual acts carry the death penalty. Do not hold your breath waiting for the public execution of the rapists Even many supporters of the regime are now beginning to wonder what has gone wrong with the revolution, and some of them are providing the details to people outside the inner circles.
The Western world, in the face of these outrages, maintains near-total silence. Well, except when they choose to pretend that things are not what they clearly are. I just learned that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was on CNN last weekend, and, when asked about our Iran policy, made an amazing statement.
“We did not want to get between the legitimate protests and demonstrations of the Iranian people and the leadership,” Clinton said in an interview with CNN broadcast on Sunday.
“And we knew that if we stepped in too soon, too hard… the leadership would try to use us to unify the country against the protesters.”
“Now, behind the scenes, we were doing a lot,” Clinton said. “We were doing a lot to really empower the protesters without getting in the way. And we’re continuing to speak out and support the opposition.”
This is the same secretary of state who equated electoral fraud in Nigeria with the presidential elections in the United States in 2000, thereby demonstrating either consummate ignorance of, or a hyperactive fantasy life about, the real world. Her statement about Iran is cut from the same tapestry. Let’s parse it, shall we?
“We did not want to get between…the Iranian people and the leadership.” That is, we didn’t want to take sides. We didn’t want to get involved. Because we feared that it might wreck our grand strategy of making a deal, any deal, with the mullahs.
“We knew that if we stepped in…the leadership would try to use us to unify the country against the protesters.” And just how would the regime “unify the country,” when the vast majority of Iranians hate Khamenei et. al.? Those nightly chants of “Death to the Dictator” do not continue, “unless the Americans help us, in which case we’ll rally behind the Dictator.” And here again, as so often with this administration, we have the undergraduate beer party-type pop lefty history, the kind that says the Iranians would be simply furious if we helped them gain their freedom. The sort of phony blame-America-first history that presumes the Iranian people think it’s better to be raped than supported, I suppose.
“Behind the scenes…we were doing a lot to really empower the protesters without getting in the way. And we’re continuing to…support the opposition.”
Prove it. So far as I know, we did–and still do–nothing to help the protesters, and we are certainly not supporting the opposition. Have you heard a single word from State or the White House in support of Mousavi? For that matter, have you heard a single word from Hillary decrying mass rape in Iran? I haven’t. I’ve heard her denounce rape in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but not in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
As for Obama, the curtain has fallen over Iran. He’s going to wait, hoping that the regime kills off the leaders of the Green Movement and silences the Iranian people, so that the glorious deal can be consummated.
He and Hillary had a choice between dishonor and war. They chose dishonor. And they have war. IEDs, many of them from Iran, are the biggest cause of American casualties in Afghanistan, aka Obama’s War. And he hasn’t heard the last from the Quds Force in Iraq, either, even though our soldiers are now locked in offsite bases. Iran’s been at war with us for thirty years, and the mullahs are not enchanted by his “special gift.” They intend to defeat us and eventually dominate us. We have yet to fight back effectively, and Hillary’s misrepresentations prove we have no intention of doing so.
It’s embarrassing. And for those of us who have children on the battlefield, as for the Iranians who have children in the nightmare prisons of the regime, it’s awful.
UPDATE: More details, from one of the best blogs on things Iranian. h/t Banafsheh.