Balkans Post has been disheartened and saddened to hear the news of the detention of a dear friend, Marzieh Hashemi of Press TV, in the US. News of the specifics of her situation has been slow to trickle out and, needless to say, major media outlets in the US and the West in general have had nothing to say about it thus far. In order to help shed some light on what's going on and what can be done about it, journalist Navid Nasr spoke with the honorable Cynthia McKinney, a long-time friend of Marzieh's, and the resulting interview can be found here exclusively on Balkans Post.
Navis Nasr: What were the circumstances of Marzieh Hashemi's detention? Where was she detained and what, if any, were the reasons given?
Cynthia McKinney: Marzieh is a PressTV anchorwoman/newsreader and is the face of English Language PressTV all over the English-speaking world. She was detained at St. Louis International Airport according to reports. I have traveled with her at that airport when we went to the scene of the police murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO. It was that killing that sparked the beginning of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. She is doing a documentary on that tragedy and the ensuing tragedies that have seen the activists of BLM themselves face bizarre deaths. Of course, the US government has issued absolutely no indication as to why they have kidnapped Marzieh and detained her without charge and are terrorizing her family by calling her children to testify. Marzieh has also covered the ongoing genocide being carried out by the US and Saudi Arabia in Yemen. Therefore, Marzieh's "crime" could be that she set a bad example by working at PressTV, and especially in such a high-profile and powerful position and especially at a time when certain players in the White House (like John Bolton) want a war with Iran; OR that she was investigating crimes against Black people in the US (for which there has always been retribution); OR that she was exposing US war crimes in Yemen.
Navis Nasr: How do you think it is that the authorities have been able to treat a US citizen, born and bred in the US, in such a disgraceful manner?
Cynthia McKinney: First of all, because the United States government (USG) is accustomed to treating its Black citizens in this manner.
Navis Nasr: Have you been in touch with Marzieh's family? How are they coping with all of this?
Cynthia McKinney: I am not in touch with Marzieh's family.
Navis Nasr: I'm not sure if you know the answer to this question and if you do whether or not you're in a position to openly speak about it, but had Marzieh put out feelers before her trip or conferred with anyone in a position to know, whether or not everything was going to be okay or if she could expect trouble on her arrival to the US?
Cynthia McKinney: Harassment and detention were always a part of her treatment when she, a US citizen, returned "home" to the US. She was routinely detained at airports for hours at a time with the US authorities rifling through her belongings as if she were a danger to the country.
Navis Nasr: Is there any other case you can think of, where US federal authorities have detained a journalist without disclosing any reason for her being detained to the general public, her employer or her country of residence?
Cynthia McKinney: Marzieh is the female equivalent of Julian Assange. That should tell us everything we need to know about who, what, why, where, how, and when of journalist persecution by the USG.
Navis Nasr: What can those of us who want to help Marzieh and her family do right now, both to secure her release and her freedom of travel?
1. Pray for her strength;
2. Use social media to illuminate her plight;
3. Contribute to a legal defense fund when the time for that appeal is right;
4. Follow her case closely;
5. Make sure other journalists write about Marzieh and that their work is shared widely;
7. Don't forget #FreeMarziehHashemi because this will be a long, drawn-out protracted struggle to win her freedom and to free her children, who are threatened also in this USG action.