Roger L. Simon

Attn.: Eric Holder - No New York Times in Iranian Prisons

While our oh-so-self-righteous Attorney General Eric Holder threatens to prosecute CIA agents for such things as excessive waterboarding of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the administration has been characteristically silent about the thousand-times more brutal methods of the Iranian regime on recent – and, one would assume, ongoing – democracy demonstrators.

Meanwhile, however, Debkafile has a blood-curdling report on the Iranian prison system replete with its rape rooms and anonymous murders. [Maybe Oliver Stone will do a remake of Midnight Express.-ed. I assume you’re kidding. I am.] I realize that Debka has a… shall we say… spotty accuracy record, but this post tracks with information coming out and what I have learned directly from Iranians. Previously, we have heard of the dreaded Evin Prison, but according to Debka there are “Seven Hellhole Prisons,” all secret jails. [Isn’t Gitomo secret?-ed. You are being funny today.]

The worst is the Revolutionary Guard Prison 59. From Debka:

This penal complex in the cellar of the Revolutionary Guards Corps base Esharat-Abad suburb of Tehran is the most terrible of all seven secret jails. It is so secret that even the head of the justice department for the Tehran district has never been granted permission for a visit.

Run by the field security unit of the IRGC, this is where suspected spies and people accused of grave security offenses are questioned by officials who are not bound by any laws or regulations. They have sole discretion to determine the degree of abuse their victims deserve.
Most of the cells are made for solitary confinement, although around ten large chambers hold a number of detainees. None have light or ventilation; sanitary conditions are appalling and food scanty. Detainees are allowed one telephone call during the period of their detention subject to permission from the security guards, which means depending on how well they cooperate.

Inmates are completely cut off from the outside world so that when it is important for the regime to extract confessions to crimes they never committed, they are susceptible to psychological manipulation, such as fake newspaper front pages or fabricated news bulletins.

[But they’ll miss their New York Times…-ed. Not to worry. All they have to do is call the subscription office and the Times will hold them for them – or have them delivered to their vacation homes.]