Sunday, April 19, 2009

Ahmadinejad Urges Strong Defense for Roxana Saberi - 'Good Cop/Bad Cop'?

Update (May 11, 2009)
Roxana Saberi seems to have a supporter in Iran's government: Iranian's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sent a letter to the chief prosecutor in Tehran, telling him, to make sure that Roxana Saberi got an opportunity to give a full defense at her appeal.

This could be no more than a matter of an official in one branch of the government urging another branch of the government to act. President Ahmadinejad is, presumably, in the executive branch. Iran's Revolutionary Court, which tried Roxana Saberi behind closed doors recently, seems to be in the judicial branch.

Iran's government is a theocratic republic, with three main branches: the legislative, executive, and judicial. It looks like Iran's government has a sort of 'checks and balances' system, much like America.

Ahmadinejad's Letter Could be Nothing More Than it Seems

The report of President Ahmadinejad's plea for truth, justice, and the Iranian way comes from Iran's official news agency: IRNA. (CBC) The Iranian president's action may simply be the executive's effort to impress the judicial branch with the gravity of Roxana Saberi's case.

Or, the letter and the IRNA report could be an effort to impress foreigners with the wisdom and compassion of Iran's government.

Or something else could be going on.

I don't know.

'Good Cop/Bad Cop,' Roxana Saberi, and Iran's President Ahmadinejad

I do know that the treatment of Roxana Saberi, at this point, looks a bit like a 'good cop/bad cop' act in a television show: where one interrogator acts aggressively toward the subject, while the other appears to be protecting the subject from the 'bad cop.'

Considering the efforts of the current administration to reach out to Iran, President Ahmadinejad could be playing the part of the good cop: impressing America's leaders with his thirst for justice.

Or, maybe he really does want something resembling a fair trial.

Related posts: In the news: Background: Related posts, on censorship, propaganda, and freedom of speech.

10 comments:

The Pajama Underground said...

This is just the collection of a chip that can be cashed in a future date, when they need to make a good will gesture of some sort.

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...

The Pajama Underground,

That's likely enough. I'd guess that there are a great many plausible explanations for Iran's collective actions.

The Pajama Underground said...

True, and I'm just going with the most obvious and simple explanation (well, second most, next to the woman actually being a real spy). Sometimes I think we all tend to over-analyze things like this. These guys are basically a gang of thungs- we're not talking about a bunch or rocket scientists here.

Brigid said...

Whatever happens, I just hope that lady gets out alive.

And one little technical note. You seem to have a couple extra words in there.

"to make sure that Roxana Saberi got an opportunity for to give a full defense at her appeal."

"The Iranian president's action may simply be a the executive's effort to impress the judicial branch with the gravity of Roxana Saberi's case."

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...

The Pajama Underground,

While I agree that there seems to be a certain amount of 'thuggery' in the Iranian government's decision making, I think "we're not talking about a bunch or rocket scientists here" isn't entirely accurate.

The Ayatollahs, whatever I think of their philosophy and beliefs, have given little reason to doubt their intelligence.

And, Iran does in fact have rocket scientists: and nuclear scientists. Iran is not a stone-age backwater. It's sitting on the same territory occupied by Persia, with a history and cultural heritage going back thousands of years.

Iranians, I am convinced, are as smart as anyone: and the country has a long and respectable tradition.

Which is one reason why, not that religious fanatics are running the place, it's so dangerous.

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...

Brigid,

Right you are. Found & fixed.

The Pajama Underground said...

I'm well aware of where Iran is, and am familiar with the history of the region.

Also, I never said that Iran didn't have rocket scientists, or that it was a stone age backwater, or that Iranians as a whole are somehow stupid. However, Iran is not run by its scientists. When I said "these guys" I was speaking of the Iranian leadership. They behave in a thug-like manner, and they don’t come off as especially bright.

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...

The Pajama Underground,

We may be looking at semantics here.

"They behave in a thug-like manner, and they don’t come off as especially bright."

I'll agree with "...thug-like manner" but not "don't come off as especially bright."

That's in large part because I do not assume that people who do not believe the same things I do, or share my interests, are stupid. As an extreme example, Hitler had and implemented beliefs which I do not agree with. On the other hand, I cannot perceive him as being particularly stupid. Quite the contrary: he was one of the most gifted orators of the 20th century.

Acknowledging the abilities of someone who does not share one's beliefs is counter-cultural. However, since I don't approve of the liberal habit of calling people who don't agree with them 'unintelligent,' I won't imitate their behavior.

And, seriously: the Iranian president may be a fool in some respects - and even that is debatable - but he did not get to where he is because he's stupid.

The Pajama Underground said...

Well, actually I think that "we may be looking at" is that you seem bothered by my failure to show respect to the Iranian leadership. I also think that, once again, you are putting words in my mouth and making assumptions, as evidenced by a statement like “I do not assume that people who do not believe the same things I do, or share my interests, are stupid.” Well, neither do I, and I never said I did.

What I did say was that I don’t think the Iranian leadership is composed of an exceptionally bright bunch, an opinion I continue to stand by. I think the path this crowd took to power- Ahmadinejad included – had a lot more to do with fear and brutality than with intelligence.

As for Hitler...come on. I think it's widely accepted that what Hitler had going for him was a remarkable gift for oratory and an almost uncanny feel for channeling the angry potential of his audience
into action. As far as his raw intelligence goes, that’s open for debate; he certainly made a number of poor decisions as a leader and administrator.

There are a lot of other characteristics and intangibles that go into acquiring political power; intelligence is certainly a very valuable asset, but if you’re implying that one can’t rise to a position of power while being average or even slightly below average overall, I’m afraid history is full of too many contrary examples for me to agree with you. People who rise to power aren't automatically smart any more than they suddenly become stupid when they lose it.

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...

The Pajama Underground,

Yes, I am reacting to your "failure to show respect to the Iranian leadership."

Putting words in your mouth? Perhaps.

"What I did say was that I don’t think the Iranian leadership is composed of an exceptionally bright bunch, an opinion I continue to stand by. I think the path this crowd took to power- Ahmadinejad included – had a lot more to do with fear and brutality than with intelligence."

I agree: There are no analogs to W. Churchill in today's Iran - or if there is one, he's (prudently) in hiding.

I think part of the issue may be the distinctions between "smart," "wise," and (this is politically incorrect, but I think very real) "good" and "evil."

Without going very far down that path, I'll opine that a person can be very smart, and very unwise.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

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In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.