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Michael Ledeen at AEI

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Michael Ledeen

Drug Bust in Tehran

Terrifying pictures, to be sure. For me, the most revealing thing about them is that the police feel obliged to wear masks while conducting a drug bust in the capital. tells you something about the relationship between the people and the state.

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Comments (30)

Saeed Ghasemynejad :

Dear Mr Ladeen
I'm student in Tehran university and I has read your works for 5 years.I recognize you as the best friend of iranian people in America.I have a question.what do you think about America's intention to parley with Iran?it seems that realism beats idealism again and we,iranian people, will be alone another time, wont be?

ML:

Thanks for the kind words. Actually the Iranian people have many American friends, all over the country. You should not despair, you never know when things will suddenly change. Those of us who worked for Ronald Reagan frequently felt we were not doing nearly enough for the Soviet peoples, and then one day we woke up and the Soviet Empire was gone. Iran may be similar.

I do not like these talks, even though Secretary Rice insists we are only talking about Iraq. My guess is that nothing will come of them, although the mullahs will of course try to trick us. Iran is having a hard time these days. The terrorists are taking a beating in Anbar Province in Iraq, Hezbollah has not achieved its objectives in Lebanon, even though American actions there are as disappointing as they are in other places in the Middle East. And while the war with Israel has resumed--with Iran the driving force--somehow it does not seem to me that the Palestinian terrorists and their Iranian masters are in a strong position.

With Khamene'i in a hurry to get big results before he dies, this means that there is a lot of pressure on the IRGC to step up the tempo of attacks, which they are attempting. But the freedom seekers in the region, contrary to many predictions, are fighting back, and they are doing better than most 'experts' had expected.

I am sure there are Iranians who see the regime's difficulties, and this sort of atmosphere sometimes has explosive consequences. We'll see.

May 18, 2007 05:56 PM

Ernest F Fuller Jr. :

Mr. Ledeen,

Thank you for your many essays and this blog. "Faster,Please!" I agree.

What is the life expectancy of these sad souls placed under arrest?

I also find it interesting that POLICE is stenciled on the official vehicles. I would think the primary language of "The Great Satan" would be forbidden.

Sincerely, Ernest F. Fuller, Jr.

May 18, 2007 07:47 PM

Brad :

The special "police" squads in the United States that normally conduct drug raids generally wear masks. Not being a policeman I fail to see the advantage of covering ones face during a legal raid. It seems to me that the danger of such practice (outside of being shot by surprised, law abiding, citizens) would be to be confused with the storm-troopers of places like Iran.

May 18, 2007 07:59 PM

a Duoist :

Is there any 'underground' in Iran which distributes the banned freedom philosophies written by Iranian philosophers, such as Abdolkarim Soroush or Mehdi Haeri Yazdi? Wouldn't Iranian-written freedom philosophies be one of the best ways to encourage a 'regime change' in the philosophy of government in Iran?

'The only weapon stronger than a gun is an idea.'

ML:

Of course there is. And there's the internet, too...which the regime keeps trying to censor, with limited success.

May 18, 2007 10:11 PM

marjan :

My dear compatriot, do not despair. This Islamo-fascist regime will fall. Do not ever doubt that for a second. It will fall on its own heavy weight and the external & internal pressure. Remember people's power. That is what counts. In the meantime millions of people worldwide support you and Iranian people's wish for liberty from the yoke of this barbaric regime. Keep up your spirit! We will never cease our rally for you and your freedom!

May 19, 2007 01:35 AM

Herr Morgenholz :

Saeed:

You have many friends here, and we hope every day for the freedom of the Iranian people. As Mr. Ledeed says, "Faster, Please."

As for the masked drug police, they look to be right at home with any American "Drug Task Force", or perhaps abducting a little Cuban child who's mother gave her life for his freedom. Says something about their relationship to their people, indeed.

May 19, 2007 09:36 AM

Amir :

Those masks are also intended to hide the nationality of the police officers. From what I have heard and seen myself there are some fair number of Lebanese and Palestinians among these special forces.
Mixed among them are the hated and feared Basiji militia trained and maintained for the express purpose of suppressing political activities. Families of the jailed student political activist report that they have been wisked away by guys wearing masks like that and driving black unmarked vans.
Anyone can see that these police officers are not trained properly even in the rudiments of grappling and control. They are obviously 'killers' more at home with torture and 'accidental shooting, something that happens a lot, especially when it comes to busting ungodly teenage parties! These escpades are to keep these masked men fit and in action.
The real drug dealers must at least possess some firearms not just rusty blades!
In another set of photos one police officer has drawn his gun in front of an unarmed overpowered pathetic looking drug addict.
here is the photo
http://www.farsnews.com/plarg.php?nn=M243563.jpg

May 19, 2007 04:18 PM

Herr Morgenholz :

Anyone can see that these police officers are not trained properly even in the rudiments of grappling and control. They are obviously 'killers' more at home with torture and 'accidental shooting, something that happens a lot, especially when it comes to busting ungodly teenage parties!

So Amir, you're from Atlanta, I take it?

May 19, 2007 06:24 PM

Winston :

Well you know very well that the iranian regime uses all sorts of excuses to suppress any one.

May 20, 2007 01:57 AM

Amir :

The view expressed above is from an Iranian living in Iran and suffered some hardships in the hands of Iranaian regime but still not affiliated with any group or faction. The creepy presence of Lebanese and Palestinian militia and the basiji in regular army and police force and the close link between the regime and these terrorists are no secret. The point is that the masked terrorists are on the street of Tehran terrorising people and then masking their actions behind drug raids etc...Iranian people are angry about regime policies for destruction of Israel and feel Israel has done no harm to us. The terrorists know that and are "here" on our streets forcing our people into silence to their wicked destructive plans. I 'm sure Mr. Ladeen has a clear view of these facts and feels a picture is worth a thousand words.

May 20, 2007 05:50 AM

Azad Andish :

Colin :

Dr. Ledeen and Marjan,

I really, REALLY don't want to be seen as defending or rationalizing any actions taken by the illegitimate and cruel Iranian regime, not do I want to be seen as comparing Iranian thugs to the LE community in the US, and I can fully understand how Iranian "cops" may have to hide their faces in public as to not let themselves be associated with the regime, but I do want to point out a couple of things I noticed in that series of pictures.

First of all, the police who were wearing the masks seemed to be part of a special unit. I don't know how things work in a police state like Iran, but here in the US, most police officers in street narcotics units also work as undercover officers, and when you're talking about the Federal level, pretty much EVERY DEA agent spends some time undercover during their tenure. Therefore, in order to retain their viability as UC agents, a lot of narcotics officers over here wear masks while executing an arrest. Secondly, the series of photos had one man being arrested by a normal cop in a regular uniform, and he didn't have a mask on. I think that lends creedence to the idea that the guys in the masks were part of some special counternarcotics squad, and wore masks in order to keep themselves viable for undercover assignments.

Again, that's just my little insight from an American perspective. I'm not trying to rationalize or explain away the behavior of a brutal regime like Iran's. This might just be a demonstration of the banality of evil, where even the most vicious regimes have to conduct rudimentary civic actions (like enforcing the anti-drug laws) in order to retain whatever slim sliver of viability that is keeping them in power.

May 21, 2007 01:00 AM

kourosh :

Why Ms. Rice is agreeing to send ambassador to meet with terrorist mullahs. Shouldn't at least the condition be release Dr. Esfandeeyari? Sadly enough, it seems the conditions are set by terrorist Khomeinists to force US to release terrorists captured in Erbil.

ML:

As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, Secretary Rice had apparently promised to release the Irbil 5, but was then overruled by the president, after discussion with the vice president and the secretary of defense.

May 21, 2007 10:39 AM

kourosh :

The very person who due to his inability and carelessness in dealing with world issues has caused all of the current problems in the world is now complaining about Bush. Carter has actually caused Islamists to come to the power in the first place and single handedly is responsible for all the lives lost as a result. Just check the recent history, and see it for yourself if any of the Islamist and Khomeinist issues existed before Carter. If there is a president that can be branded “The worst president in the history of man kind” is Carter himself.

The problems is that often stupid can’t see the results of his / her actions. Carter must be the last person to criticize Bush. Persians have real interesting saying in regards to people like Carter and his comments about the war in Iraq. The saying goes like this: ”The only thing who hasn’t yet shit on us was a crow whose ass was torn apart”. And now Carter is that crow.

May 21, 2007 11:55 AM

marjan :

Colin, to answer your curiosity about the masked faces of the thugs arresting Iranians, the fact is that many ordinary Iranians have been saying that these thugs speak in Arabic and not Persian thus suggesting that at least some may actually be Palestinians or Lebanese islamic militias. This is not anything new though in Iran. The Palestinian/Lebanese militias have been long trained in Iran by the terrorist regime to carry out terrorist acts around the world and also at the same time suppressing any Iranian citizen's move that may be considered as a threat to the security of the Islamic republic regime, which means suppressing all and any act of an average Iranian citizen be it any act of disobedience in any fashion from women, men, laborers , students, scholars, academics, and even children. Welcome to Iran a country ruled and occupied by a bunch of islamo fascists who do any evil at any cost with no regards whatsoever to any sorts of consequences from inside and outside. Also in regards to the masked faces, this is not systematic in Iran. Many more times they do not wear masks. IN the US the FBI and the security agents are all obliged to wear masks whenever there is a raid as way of protection in the coming raid. But in Iran this is not so. They wear masks when want to hide their national identity and also wear masks to impose fear and intimidation among the populace. You need to live in a society of fear and death such as Iran to honestly be able to comprehend the actions of its regime's agents and officials. I hope this can open up the curtain for you a little and shed light into this police totalitarian state.
Regards,

marjan

May 21, 2007 12:50 PM

MikeT :

That it is similar to the relationship between our state and people these days? What should disturb you is that it is common practice in the "land of the free" to send SWAT units in to any situation where the police fear they might face violence. You can find plenty of stories where SWAT units have been deployed in the US on grounds that sound absolutely absurd to the average American, such as basic drug raids where they're only likely to encounter a few stoners.

May 21, 2007 12:59 PM

Paul :

That looks exactly like a drug raid in the US.

Which says a lot about how similar tyrrany looks, wherever you find it.

May 21, 2007 12:59 PM

Maximus :

Saeed Ghasemynejad :

tonight Iran`s TV reported that Dr esfanyari has confessed in prison.it said also her husband is zionist spy.I think they want to show her in TV.It's an evidence that Iran's government is a rabid dog, you can not talk with a rabid dog you must kill it.

May 21, 2007 02:08 PM

Saeed Ghasemynejad :

Police beat "BAD-HIJAB" women in iran.
http://www.masihalinejad.blogfa.com/post-33.aspx
and also 3 police officers raped a "BAD-HIJAB" girl in Varamin-a town near Tehran-it really disgusts me when I see peaceniks in Europe and US roast president Bush but treat mullahs,bin laden or mullah omar kindly.

May 21, 2007 02:32 PM

Sina :

Hi Mike,

Have you seen these new photo's from streets of Tehran? You can't see them in Govmnt new agencies.
http://www.stopahmadinejad.com/from-tehran-with-love/

May 21, 2007 02:58 PM

Greg :

If you're offended by such things, you really ought to look up some of Radley Balko's work on the militarization of U.S. police, particularly with respect to the enforcement of drug laws.

I'm sure getting busted for drugs in Iran is no picnic, but as Radley's shown time and again, the U.S. fares little better on that front.

You can start by reading Radley's Cato paper at:

http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=6476

May 21, 2007 02:59 PM

Amir :

Re Colin:
The Iranian regime employs a very elaborate system of spies that are organised under a very sophisticated organ of militia called Basij, the Iranian equivalent of, and on higher levels connected to, the Hezbollah and in fact is called by that name by ordinary people. In every “district” in every city there is a Basiji “Base” linked to that district’s Mosque. This official militia is maintained for the explicit purpose of watching over “every single individual” in that district. As our Islamic country is presumably carved up into little territories all centered around their public mosques, every one is constantly under surveillance. These ostensibly pious Basiji spies are helped and financed into positions ( like the local grocery store owner ) that helps them do very effective intelligence work. In fact if someone tries to avoid the occasional warm and intimate chat with these basijis it shows that there is something wrong with that individual.
Secondly MOST if not all mullahs have a holy passion for narcotics! You didn’t know that huh? Check out the original speaches of Mr. Haddad Adel or Mr. Elham ( both senior officials ) and you ‘ll see what a lifelong abuse of Opiom can do to a man!!! If you cannot beat them, join them; that’s what the Mullahs say about the drug dealers. These mullahs are sacrificing the people for their crazy ideologies, what do they care about drugs!

May 21, 2007 03:00 PM

Harley :

Although I'm not in any way defending the Iranian gov't or police, I think we should wash the windows in our own glass house before throwing stones in someone else's. In the US our over-militarized police regularly break down doors to the wrong homes, or the right homes for the wrong reasons, sometimes killing innocent victims, lying, planting evidence, covering up, all while masked and armored. There are way too many examples here (http://www.theagitator.com/archives/cat_paramilitary_police_raids.php). And why do they always have to shoot the dogs? http://www.reason.com/news/show/33289.html

We've even killed unarmed people in paramilitary police raids for the heinous crime of taking bets on sporting events. http://www.justiceforsal.com/

So, I say let's clear up our own issues before denigrating others for the same actions.

May 21, 2007 03:52 PM

druid :

Amen, Harley.

May 21, 2007 07:33 PM

marjan :

My American friends, you are ll right and again so WRONG!
What you don't know is that in the Islamo facsist regime in Iran these raids happen in every day of all Iranians from all walks of life. It happens if they anything that angers the establishment, it happens if the gather for a civil protest, it happens if the students form a political committee, it happens if boys and girls walk together hand in hand, it happens if women don't act according to the rule of Islam and wear hijab, it happens if men wear ties or tatoos or wear their hair in a stylish fashion. Please, don't take your liberties which are abundant in disregard. If you like please live in Islamic Republic and learn a lesson or two in how a fascistic regime represses its people. What you all say here is an outright affront to all of us repressed Iranian people. These masked terrorists are all part of a big "Mafia" that is the Basijis and are all over the cities in Iran specially in Tehran watching every move a person makes and then terrorizes them. Please, do not liken them to the American law enforcers who are "Law enforcers". These are mafia agents gotten fat by the oil rich country and their barbarian leaders. The systematic brutal repression upon the Iranians are unmatcjhed anywhere in the world and if you don't believe it pleas make a visit!
It is amazing how the "anti-American" sensibilities of some people makes them so blind to the realities. It doesn't make anybody cool either since it is taken out of context and is plain wrong!
Imagine if you had a "Mafia" task force with black masks and outfits brutalizing you with chain, knives, batons for no reason but courage to say "NO", and what if those masked mafia agents were Russians or Chinese? What would you all do then? Huh?
I am amazed at the level of such simplistic out of context comparison some of you make here. It makes our head spin and wonder the stats of our intelligence!!!
Why don't you all borrow these Basijis from the Islamic Republic and try them out for yourselves??? See whose techniques are more civil the American paramilitary ot the Islamo-facsist terrorist Basijis???
Then let us know once you have experienced them!!!

ML:

Thanks, well said.

May 22, 2007 01:34 AM

marjan :

I forgot to add that what happens after these brutal raid is what truly matters. Many of the people including even under age and children who get arrested get thrown in the dungeons of the totalitarian regime whereas they are brutally tortured and in some cases if the victim shows acts of defiance and courage and speaks against the regime, they get executed. manners of execution and murder: Hanging from cranes yes you read me right cranes, stoning of women,raping of children and nightmarish types of torture that result in death. Do you have those treatments in the US my American friends??? No access to an attorney, in fact many cases attorneys are themselves caged, jailed and tortured as well, and no access to the outside world. How would you all deal with that? You have all had it too easy my friends too easy and have taken your liberties too lightly that you have no idea what you have and what is given to you all. If I were you I would be a "proud American" and honor my ancestors who have brought me all the freedom I have and all the possibilities that lay ahead of me. Please come out of your boxes and see the realities that are out there for millions of people like you!!!

May 22, 2007 01:46 AM

Andrew H :

As others have said those of us in the US really can't say much when our police wear masks like common bandits, kick in doors and engage in all sorts of acts of senseless thuggery. In fact those police in Tehran look much less threatening than do many “Tactical” teams that are called in daily to kick in the doors of countless American homes every day. I know they look less threatening than one of the local “Tactical” teams who operate in a town of under 15,000 people near me. They are equipped with masks, armor, helmet and the whole stormtrooper Halloween costume.

As others have said, when we stop sending masked stormtroopers into houses then maybe we can criticize Iranians for it.

ML:

Frankly, comparing American police to Iranian security forces is a triumph of moral equivalence, and demonstrates real ignorance of the way the world works. This sort of violence in Iran is sytematic; in America it is rare. Violence against Iranian citizens is virtually never punished; in America the courts regularly punish law enforcement officials.

A lot of these comments sound like they come out of the Noam Chomsky School of Confusion.

May 22, 2007 03:05 AM

Amir :

Re Harley
Please note that as an Iranian English speaker I have good knowledge of the issues related to police brutality and corruption in your country. You are aware that no one is perfect, and when it comes to wielding force the results is sometimes fatal. This is in contrast to the financial corruption that seldom if ever leads to direct tragic results involving apparently innocent individuals. Police brutality is caused by “the imperfections in human nature.” A police officer might be a sadist, a rapist, a pedophile or a criminal. In Iran however a police officer’s job is primarily “defending the Islamic values in society.” Of course the crime scene is kept under a careful watch too but only so that “the situation would not get out of hand”, not to keep the public safe. How can you explain the great effort spent on harassment and intimidation of teenagers and young people? The regime is more concerned about the ideas that the young are carrying in their heads than the drugs they carry in their pockets. It is a matter of life and death for the mullahs. Has anyone EVER claimed that Bush is kept in power by police brutality in your country? Using the word POLICE in referring to these masked men is very much misleading. The why they have used that word in English on their uniforms: to mislead the ignorant people outside Iran into believing they are the Iranian “law enforcement organ.” The are in one sense, but the LAW they are enforcing is very much different from what you can imagine from your home in the US. That’s why you need to give more credit to scholars like Mr. Ledeen and his efforts to bring forth some key aspects of this regime. The issues related to police brutality in the US is absolutely irrelevant to this discussion here. By raising these points you are playing into the hands of the Mullahs!!

May 22, 2007 07:02 AM

kourosh :

I was wondering how come: BBC, AP, CNNI, Reuters, Times Gang, FT, AFP who regularly report from Iran, and with all their big time reporting, don't publish any of the pictures about biting of young women and men these days in Iran. It seems these LeftOver Marxists media only report anything that is anti-American and don’t care about human right abuses in Iran. Where is C. Amanpoor these days?

Thanks to Al-Gore who invented the WWW, we now don’t need the organized media anymore and don’t need Guardian to Guard the truth.. Any kid now can and is reporting with much more accuracy and better than any BBC reporter and without the filters set in place by so-called editors with their baggage’s.
BBC see these pictures and eat your heart out. Learn accurate reporting too:
http://www.iranfocus.com/modules/news/article.php?storyid =11305
http://www.iranfocus.com/modules/news/article.php?storyid =11307
http://www.iranfocus.com/modules/news/article.php?storyid =11309
http://www.iranfocus.com/modules/news/article.php?storyid =11311

By the way those who compare Khomeinist thugs humiliating, raping and torturing Iranians routinely with occasional police brutality against drug dealers and murderers here, have no idea about the issues in Iran and shouldn’t inject their joke-like comments here. If you could find a web site inside Iran to express anything slightly anti-establishment, inform us too. There is a big difference of living with constant fear and insecurity for yourself and your family in Iran, than some wrong acts by police which mostly are persecuted here.


ML:

Roger that.

May 22, 2007 09:59 AM


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