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Iranian trade unionist 'kidnapped'

category international | worker & community struggles and protests | other press author Wednesday July 11, 2007 03:41author by arpiai - hopoi supporter Report this post to the editors

Mansour Osanloo

Leading Iranian trade unionist Mansour Osanloo kidnapped.
osanloo.jpg

The following report was received this evening from the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) in London:

Mansour Osanloo

"The ITF is informed tonight from the union that their President Mansour Osanloo is kidnapped around 7pm local time. He was followed all day today by a Pugeot. When he was getting off from a bus on his way home, the kidnappers beat him up and drove him away in the car. No one has confirmed his safety after more than two hours of this abduction. Anonymous calls are made to the local media that Osanloo is missing. We will keep you informed of the development. In the meantime please disseminate this information as widely as you can."

Original: http://www.labourstart.org/docs/en/000422.html

Related Link: http://www.itfglobal.org/
author by epublication date Wed Jul 11, 2007 16:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

yet by no means surprising.

the treatment of Trade Unionists in Iran is no less than shocking.

let's hope for a good end to this one, unlikely as it may seem.

author by arprai - hopoi supporterpublication date Wed Jul 11, 2007 19:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The ITF has received word from our affiliate that Mansour Osanloo was kidnapped on 10th July in Tehran by unknown persons at approximately 7pm local time.

Mansour Osanloo, President of the ITF-affiliated bus workers’ union, Sandikaye Kargarane Sherkate Vahed (Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company), was being followed all day by an unmarked Peugeot car.

While on his way home, Osanloo was getting off a bus, when he was assaulted by the unidentified kidnappers, who yelled at the passengers to stay away and called him a 'hoodlum and a thug'. They then forced him into the unmarked Peugeot which then drove away.

The witnesses on the bus stated that he was beaten severely, and his attackers continued to beat him even after they had stuffed him into the metallic grey Peugeot. Given the past history of Osanloo's treatment by the security forces there is strong reason to believe that some part of the Iranian authorities was responsible for this attack but the local police station, to which his family turned, refused to confirm or deny that the police were involved.

David Cockroft, General Secretary of the ITF, reacted strongly to news of Osanloo's kidnapping, "On behalf of its five million transport workers affiliated to the ITF, we condemn this cowardly act. We demand an immediate and unconditional release of Mansour Osanloo. ITF affiliates and the global trade union leaders who met him at the recent ITUC General Council meeting in Brussels, and the International Labour Organisation will all protest against this blatant violation of human and trade union rights and will take whatever action is necessary to secure the immediate release of Mansour Osanloo".

Related Link: http://www.itfglobal.org/news-online/index.cfm/newsdetail/1419
author by pat cpublication date Thu Jul 12, 2007 15:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Here ia comment from a supporter of Iranian Workers Bulletin

The fact is this is not just Ossanlou. This kidnapping is simply the tip of the iceberg; in the last couple of months the government have stepped up their campaign of repression against labour activists. We have followed the development of this situation closely in IWB; the imprisonment of Sheys Amani and Sediq Karami (Union of the Dismissed and Unemployed workers), Ossanlou himself was attacked on May Day and has been tortured in prison ever since the unions he heads called for independence.

Ossanlou is currently the most prominent trade unionist in Iran, based on his past detention; he is most likely to face severe torture and possibly death. We are not being hyperbolic. Refer to IWB issue 9 ( http://iranianworkersbulletin.org/IWB/Issues/NEWS9.pdf )
As we speak Salehi is dying in prison from lack of medical attention.

Related Link: http://iranianworkersbulletin.org
author by Guypublication date Fri Jul 13, 2007 11:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This story does not determine who 'kidnapped' Mr Mansour. Mr Mansour was twice arrested and released by police last year so it is fair to assume if they wanted him they would have simply arrested him again.

The fact that his abductors allegedly shouted he was a 'thug' may even point to another reason for his abduction. We do not know if Mr Mansour was involved in any other non-union activities that would have made him a target for rivals or vigilantes. We do not know if he had any personal relationship difficulties with inlaws or neighbours. We do not know if he was involved in any form of criminal ventures or if criminals seeking monetary reward abducted him.

We know very little in fact at this stage and yet the lingering feeling of this story is that Iran is a barbaric anti-union country. Would we feel bad if this barbaric country were bombed? Presumably we would feel less concerned for their safety, after reading this twist on an unsubstatiated story. This is just one of many stories leaking into the international media, generally from London, Washington and Tel Aviv with the one purpose of preparing the West for an attack on Iran.

We DO know that Israel is itching to bomb Iran. We DO know that the Israele bombs will kill women, gays, trade unionists and small kittens without discrimination, as they did in Lebanon last year, even though emotive stories about the abuse of the very same people (and animals) formed the basis for the pro-bombing propagnada.

author by pat cpublication date Fri Jul 13, 2007 11:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"This story does not determine who 'kidnapped' Mr Mansour. Mr Mansour was twice arrested and released by police last year so it is fair to assume if they wanted him they would have simply arrested him again."

The fact that he is an active trade unionist who has been arrested by the Iranian police in the past would make any reasonable and "rational person suggest that the Iranuian state forces are involved in his disappearance.

The fact that his abductors allegedly shouted he was a 'thug' may even point to another reason for his abduction. We do not know if Mr Mansour was involved in any other non-union activities that would have made him a target for rivals or vigilantes. We do not know if he had any personal relationship difficulties with inlaws or neighbours. We do not know if he was involved in any form of criminal ventures or if criminals seeking monetary reward abducted him."

That is nothing other than disgraceful smears. What we do know about Mansour is that he is a leader of banned trade unions. We know that the Iranian statte uses their police, military and revolutionary guartds against trade unionists.

"We know very little in fact at this stage and yet the lingering feeling of this story is that Iran is a barbaric anti-union country. "

Yes it is a country where trade unions are banned. Are you dentying this?

"Would we feel bad if this barbaric country were bombed? "

As you well know Mansour and the independent trade unionists oppose any imperialist aggression against Iran.

"Presumably we would feel less concerned for their safety, after reading this twist on an unsubstatiated story. This is just one of many stories leaking into the international media, generally from London, Washington and Tel Aviv with the one purpose of preparing the West for an attack on Iran."

This story is substantiated and comes from iNternational Trade Union sources. You seem to think that anyone who in any way criticises Iran is in league with the US.

"We DO know that Israel is itching to bomb Iran."

HOPI, Mansour and the independent Iranian Trade Unions oppose this.

" We DO know that the Israele bombs will kill women, gays, trade unionists and small kittens without discrimination, as they did in Lebanon last year, even though emotive stories about the abuse of the very same people (and animals) formed the basis for the pro-bombing propagnada."

What are you saying? Are you suggesting that stories about the abuse of trade unionists in Iran should be suppressed?

That is nonsense. You can support the Iranian Opposition without supporting Imperialism.

author by pat cpublication date Fri Jul 13, 2007 11:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Here is an extract from a HOPI statement. Full article at the link.

Ossanlou has not been seen since his abduction and despite the communications that were made with the relevant authoritative bodies no indication was provided as to where he was being held. All had flatly denied that he was in their custody until the afternoon of 12 July when officials finally admitted that Ossanlou is being held in the notorious Evin prison in Tehran.

It is interesting to note that a similar attempt was made by unidentified agents on May Day. This attempt was only thwarted due to the intervention of passers-by and union colleagues who helped free Ossanlou from the clutches of his assailants.

The embattled trade unionist, Mansour Ossanlou has been the prime target of state intimidation ever since he led the unions' struggle for independence in May 2005. The price Ossanlou paid for his involvement was a seven month prison sentence, without charge, which saw him subjected to torture, beatings, psychological abuse, and intimidation as well as near to four months in solitary confinement (see IWB issue 9). In November 2006, Ossanlou was once again violently arrested and beaten by plain clothes security officers and detained in Evin prison for a month.


ITF General Secretary David Cockroft commented that, "All of us are behind him now and demand his release and the reining in of the bullies and thugs who are hounding him." Meanwhile the British TUC has sent a protest letter to the Iranian Ambassador in the UK and has notified the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Torture: Ossanlou's tongue sliced in prison
Torture: Ossanlou's tongue sliced in prison

Related Link: http://www.hopi-campaign.org/Ossanloukidnapped.html
author by pat cpublication date Fri Jul 13, 2007 12:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If you go to this link you will find a form letter which will issue to the Iranian President in support of Mansour.
http://www.itfglobal.org/solidarity/osanloo2.cfm/letter/24/

Here you may send an email or solidarity items to friends.
http://www.itfglobal.org/solidarity/osanloo2.cfm/letter...end/1

Related materials including protest letters, news, and press releases.
http://www.itfglobal.org/solidarity/osanloo2.cfm#related

Photos of Mansour Osanloo's visit to the ITF and ITUC in June 2007
http://www.flickr.com/photos/itf/sets/72157600445312902/

Mansour Osanloo
Mansour Osanloo

author by Guypublication date Sat Jul 14, 2007 10:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Pat C,
That series of rants is hard to respond to. Trying to read them with my own quotes interlaced with copy-and-pasted extracts from other websites is much too tiring and life is too short.

If you wish to debate this issue or the points I made then please do so in a succinct manner, making points to which I can respond and not entering into a series of lectures based on you personal view of Iran. I don't listen to rants or engage persons who rant. Perhaps you should delete your own comments and start again.

author by pat cpublication date Sun Jul 15, 2007 12:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You are nothing other than an apologist for the Iranian Regime. You even attack independent trade unioniosts. I wonder what motivates people like you. The story asbout Mansours kidnapping was spread by the International Transport Federation, which represents millions of workers worldwide.
The British TUC has also supported Mansour.

You claimed that the kidnapping never happened or that it took place because Mansour was a criminal. Now the Iranian police admit that they hold MANSOUR. You hve been exposed as a fraud & you are the one who is ranting.

author by pat c - Hands Off the People of Iran publication date Sun Jul 15, 2007 13:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There have been ongoung attempts to smear those who stand up against the Iranian Regime. Here are some of the supporters of Hands Off the People of Iran. Make up your own mind if you think they support US Imperialism.

Senator David Norris,Tony Gregory TD, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, John Dallat MLA, Daithí McKay MLA, Patrick Nulty - Chair, Labour Youth, Cllr Chris Flood - Socialist Party, Lewisham, Cllr Rania Khan - Respect, Tower Hamlets, Cllr Fozol Miah - Respect, Tower Hamlets, Cllr Oliur Rahman - Respect, Tower Hamlets, Ken Loach, Michael Mansfield QC, Diane Abbott MP - Labour, Adam Price MP - Plaid Cymru.

John Pilger, Professor Noam Chomsky, Professor Mike Davis, Professor John Newsinger, Professor Sheila Rowbotham, Des Derwin, DCTU, Joe Moore - CWU.

Full list of supporters at: http://www.hopoi.org/supporters.html

Related Link: http://www.hopoi.org
author by Aragonpublication date Tue Jul 17, 2007 07:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

What possible good can come of suspending our critical faculties where Iran is concerned? The detainment of Mansour is wrong, it should be protested against. Of course the US will use examples of Iranian oppression against itself - hyporcritically so given its own history of union suppression. If the Iranian authorities are stupid enough to hand it's enemies a PR coup of this sort on a plate then they should wear the appropriate consequences - international condemnation for the violent detention of an innocent person and oppression of the mass movement he represents. Equally we should protest attempts by the US to suggest that this is a rationale for war. Wouldn't it be better to devote energy to exposing that hypocrisy than shouting down justified protest?

author by Aragonpublication date Tue Jul 17, 2007 15:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The kidnap of MO is peculiar at this point in time. Wondering whether he might have been taken by pro US forces in Iran as a PR stunt to make them look bad, I found this article:

Of course, the United States is already at war with Iran. We are
directing covert ops and terrorist attacks inside Iran, with the help
of groups that our own government has declared terrorist renegades. We
are kidnapping Iranian officials in Iraq and holding them hostage. We
have a bristling naval armada on Iran's doorstep, put there for the
express purpose of threatening Tehran with military action. The U.S.
Congress has overwhelmingly passed measures calling for the overthrow
of the Iranian government. And now the U.S. Senate has unanimously
declared that Iran is waging war on America, and has given official
notice that this will not be tolerated. It is only a very small step
to move from this war in all but name to the full monty of an overt
military assault.


http://www.atlanticfreepress.com/content/view/1970/1/

The US is no defender of union or workers rights -anaethma to all their imperialist ambitions. As with Iraq all of those who would welcome genuine democracy are as much potential enemies of the US project in the Middle East as those in power. MO would be just such a person. With the US poised to repeat the slaughter then that surely has to be the first consideration at this point in time? This is not to deny the human rights abuses occur in Iran or to say they should not be challenged - but to avoid the greater human rights abuse of an unjustified war.

author by pat cpublication date Tue Jul 17, 2007 16:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

That was not a helpful post.

The Iranian authorities have admitted they are holding Mansour. Mansour has been arrested and tortured before by the Iranian police.

Ossanlou has not been seen since his abduction and despite the communications that were made with the relevant authoritative bodies no indication was provided as to where he was being held. All had flatly denied that he was in their custody until the afternoon of 12 July when officials finally admitted that Ossanlou is being held in the notorious Evin prison in Tehran.

author by Aragonpublication date Tue Jul 17, 2007 19:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I don't for one second disagree with you that the oppression/abuse/torture of trades unionists in Iran is a terrible thing. But I do think that it is exactly the sort of issue that could be exploited/used in all sorts of ways to justify another invasion. There is a need for caution here - the pressure the Iranians are under is massive - God know's what is being said and done behind the scenes. We can be sure that the official media version of 'the case for war' bears virtually no resemblance to the truth. It may well serve both sides interests for all sorts of reasons for MO to have been detained now. It doesn't make it right and it should be vociferously protested against on any/all possible grounds but let's not forget or ignore the imminently deadly threat that the Iranian people are facing or the devious menace with which that is being justified outside of Iran. People like Mansour will be primary targets for the US as much as he is for the Iranian government, make no mistake.

All that said, I would completely support all protests to the Iranian government on the face value of the kidnap. They mean no goodwill towards him at all, for sure, whatever is going on.

author by pat cpublication date Wed Jul 18, 2007 10:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"We can be sure that the official media version of 'the case for war' bears virtually no resemblance to the truth. "

I'm not sure what you mean by the official version here. The Iranian state originally denied that they held Mansour in custody. They only admitted that they held him after intense publicity by the international trade union movement.

"It may well serve both sides interests for all sorts of reasons for MO to have been detained now. "

Both sides? How would it serve the interests of the Independent Iranian Trade Unionists to have their leader arrested and tortured?

"It doesn't make it right and it should be vociferously protested against on any/all possible grounds but let's not forget or ignore the imminently deadly threat that the Iranian people are facing or the devious menace with which that is being justified outside of Iran. "

Aragon, pleaase read the statements above, please go to the HOPI site. You will see that Mansour and his comrades totally oppose any imperialist aggression. The supporters of HOPI include: Noam Chomsky, John Pilger, David Norris, Tony Gregory, Ken Loach, Irish Socialist Network.

"People like Mansour will be primary targets for the US as much as he is for the Iranian government, make no mistake. "

I truly do not understand the above sentence. It is unsustainable to suggest that the US would kidnap Mansour and try and blame it on the Iranian government. The Iranian government has already murdered, tortured and imprisoned thousands of trade unionists.

For your theory to be correct then the Iranian government must be conspiring against itself as it has admitted that it holds Mansour. The International Transport Workers Federation. Noam Comsky and the TUC must also be involved in this globe spanning conspiracy.

Please, just keep it simple. Support Iranian trade unionists just as you would support Irish workers oppressed by the state.

Oppose all imperialist aggression towards Iran and oppose the Iranian Theocracy.

Related Link: http://www.hopoi.org/
author by Aragonpublication date Wed Jul 18, 2007 11:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"We can be sure that the official media version of 'the case for war' bears virtually no resemblance to the truth. "

I'm not sure what you mean by the official version here. The Iranian state originally denied that they held Mansour in custody. They only admitted that they held him after intense publicity by the international trade union movement.

I'm talking about the official version of the case for/against war - because that is a significant part of the backdrop to what is happening in the media where Mansour is concerned.

"It may well serve both sides interests for all sorts of reasons for MO to have been detained now. "

Both sides? How would it serve the interests of the Independent Iranian Trade Unionists to have their leader arrested and tortured?

The interests of the US and Iran - not the IITU whose interests are cearly not servied by this at all.

"It doesn't make it right and it should be vociferously protested against on any/all possible grounds but let's not forget or ignore the imminently deadly threat that the Iranian people are facing or the devious menace with which that is being justified outside of Iran. "

Aragon, pleaase read the statements above, please go to the HOPI site. You will see that Mansour and his comrades totally oppose any imperialist aggression. The supporters of HOPI include: Noam Chomsky, John Pilger, David Norris, Tony Gregory, Ken Loach, Irish Socialist Network.

Hopefully its clear now that that was all understood.

"People like Mansour will be primary targets for the US as much as he is for the Iranian government, make no mistake. "

I truly do not understand the above sentence. It is unsustainable to suggest that the US would kidnap Mansour and try and blame it on the Iranian government. The Iranian government has already murdered, tortured and imprisoned thousands of trade unionists.

The US is already kidnapping all sorts of people in Iran - it has widespread covert operations going on - I'm not saying that this is what happened to Mansour - clearly it isn't - I'm using the possibility that it could have been to illustrate the complexity of what is going on behind the scenes. While totally supporting the opposition to his kidnap for all the reasons you describe - corporate western media interest in the issue may be a double-edged sword in some respects - used cynically and hypocritically by the US and others to build the case for war. It's a very difficult situation. If the war on Iran goes ahead it will be the very people that Mansour represents who will pay the highest price - as they have in Iraq and everywhere else.

Please, just keep it simple. Support Iranian trade unionists just as you would support Irish workers oppressed by the state.

Oppose all imperialist aggression towards Iran and oppose the Iranian Theocracy.


Agree with that last statement - but I don't think it is a simple situation at all. A lot of effort should equally be put into exposing any pro war hypocrisy by people who would as soon see Mansour kidnapped and torutured as the Iranians. In Iraq the US wanted no truck with Iraqi's who were pro western-style democracy - they were targetted along with others - probably regarded as being even more dangerous - once the invasion took place. But before the war western media and US/UK politicians made a huge play of legitimate criticisms of Iraq - with another objective in mind altogether. I'm not saying there should be a silence about the kidnap - but suggesting that every public pronouncement on the issue by his supporters should make very prominent disclaimers of media hypocrisy about it.

author by Aragonpublication date Thu Jul 19, 2007 11:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Two US/Iranian academics admit they are working for a US sponsored 'democracy' drive:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/iran/story/0,,2129804,00.html

author by pat cpublication date Thu Jul 19, 2007 11:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

What are you up to? This has nothing to do with the Kidnap of Mansour. The Iranian police have admitted that they hold mansour in custody.

As for this story, I'm sure I could have a confession beaten out of me as well. The US do it, and it sure looks as the Iranians are past masters at it.

Heres an excerpt from your link.

Last night's interviews were criticised in advance by the Wilson centre and Human Rights Watch, who expressed fears that they would amount to "fake confessions". Televised confessions were often screened in the years following Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution but have been less common recently.

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