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Father of Iranian blogging arrested
November 19, 2008 10:03 AM   Subscribe

Oh crap, Iranian blogger (mefi's own!) hoder has been arrested in Iran and may face the death penalty.

The weird part is that the article states he's been pretty pro-Iran the past couple years on his blog. So he may face death for entering Israel and being pro-Iran while he was there? That seems odd.
posted by mathowie to MetaFilter-Related at 10:03 AM (130 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

The reason for his returning to Iran is unclear.

The whole thing seems odd.
posted by R. Mutt at 10:18 AM on November 19, 2008


the whole thing seems weird.
let's hope it'll help him that he has canadian citizenship.
posted by krautland at 10:27 AM on November 19, 2008


Best of luck hoder.
posted by ageispolis at 10:29 AM on November 19, 2008


Well that's pretty sucky.
posted by Caduceus at 10:34 AM on November 19, 2008


Terrible, terrible news. What can we do? Is PEN tracking this?
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 10:35 AM on November 19, 2008


Goodness me, terrible news.

let's hope it'll help him that he has canadian citizenship.

It should do shouldn't it? What are the Canadian govt. usually like in these situations?
posted by jack_mo at 10:35 AM on November 19, 2008


Here's another article from the Times with a tiny bit more info.
posted by bluefly at 10:38 AM on November 19, 2008


Irony meter is off the charts, since looking through his FPPs and after reading that article, sounds like he's been a proponent of Iran. The spying accusation is troubling, since 1. I can't see it as being true. 2. Who let's a blogger have access to anything crucial?

Best of luck to him.

This news probably deserves a FPP and sideblog.

A defense fund, and a place to write to support, might also be helpful. I've been known to write a letter or two and could see my way toward a small contribution.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:38 AM on November 19, 2008


Why did they accuse him of spying for Israel? Simply because he went there? He has been very pro-Iran both on his blog and here, so this is bizarre. I hope he can get help and get out of there.
posted by Pastabagel at 10:39 AM on November 19, 2008


let's hope it'll help him that he has canadian citizenship.

At the risk of sounding grim or morbid, it certainly didn't help Zahra Kazemi or Maher Arar. And it could be very difficult to create or foster sympathetic public opinion in Canada that could push the government to act, depending on how pro-Iran he's been.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:41 AM on November 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


@jack_mo: Two words: Zahra Kazemi.

I'm writing the Canadian foreign affairs minister about this right now; fortunately, I'm one of his constituents, so I might actually get a response.

More news coverage: Haaretz, Times, UPI.
posted by mcwetboy at 10:42 AM on November 19, 2008


From Haaretz:

"Iranian expert Meir Javedanfar wrote Tuesday that prior to his return to Iran, Derakhshan criticized former Iranian president Ayatollah Hashemi-Rafsanjani and added that his arrest may be the result of power struggles within the Iranian regime. "


Yikes.
posted by CunningLinguist at 10:50 AM on November 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Can we do anything to help him?
posted by jamaro at 10:50 AM on November 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


Please, please sidebar this.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 10:51 AM on November 19, 2008


From the Times:
"Commentators in Israel, however, noted Mr Derakhshan recently had become “vehemently anti-Israel in his blog”.
The 33-year-old techno-wizard has had a controversial and often turbulent career. Bitterly disillusioned with the Iranian reformist leaders that he once championed, he recently became a grudging admirer of Iran’s hardline President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad."

The more you read about this, the more tangled it gets.
posted by CunningLinguist at 10:53 AM on November 19, 2008


What the fuck.

If we can be MeFi Investigative Squad on so many things in the past, let's please get some stuff rolling for this guy who's life is on the line.

Anyone with connections in the Canadian government? Anyone in a position to exert direct pressure on someone who can help?
posted by lazaruslong at 10:56 AM on November 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


I meant, it sounds like he's caught in an internal power struggle, which makes outside influence even more impotent.
posted by CunningLinguist at 11:01 AM on November 19, 2008


let's hope it'll help him that he has canadian citizenship.

Our current government doesn't give a fuck about anyone who isn't a white, well-off Albertan, they will be of no use whatsoever in this situation. Please, please let this comment come back to haunt me, making me look a fool for being so wrong.
posted by zarah at 11:06 AM on November 19, 2008


Oh crap
...
may face the death penalty.

Most insufficient expletive evar.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:08 AM on November 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


Jesus.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:08 AM on November 19, 2008


Our current government doesn't give a fuck about anyone who isn't a white, well-off Albertan, they will be of no use whatsoever in this situation.

I dislike Harper and the Cons as much as the next person, but it's worth remembering who was in charge when Kazemi was arrested, beaten, raped and murdered. That said, let's not derail this with counterproductive partisan kvetching.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:12 AM on November 19, 2008


From what I read, Ahmadinejad is about as popular there as Bush is in the States, right now. So going after one of his more prominent supporters might make sense, in that light, maybe?
posted by paisley henosis at 11:13 AM on November 19, 2008


... it certainly didn't help Zahra Kazemi or Maher Arar.

Nor has it helped Mohamed and Sultan Kohail (yet).
posted by CKmtl at 11:19 AM on November 19, 2008


That's really strange. If you read his site he's been a government apologist for a while now. I mean, the dude thinks Reading Lolita in Tehran is some sort of neo-con propaganda. My (Iranian) wife can't stand him.

And yes, the Canadian government doesn't care about people that aren't White, and hasn't for a while now. It's not something that makes the Tories special. In addition to Kazemi, we also have Maher Arar, Omar Khadr, the total fuck up that is the Air India Bombing, etc.
posted by chunking express at 11:22 AM on November 19, 2008


And yes, this sucks. WTF Iran.
posted by chunking express at 11:22 AM on November 19, 2008


And yes, the Canadian government doesn't care about people that aren't White, and hasn't for a while now.

Being white didn't do William Sampson any good. I'm afraid our government is ineffectual regardless of race, creed, or ethnicity.
posted by timeistight at 11:29 AM on November 19, 2008


This is utterly horrifying. I don't even know what to say, let alone what to do.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:34 AM on November 19, 2008


During a visit to Israel in 2007

He stopped posting here in 2007. I wonder if there's any connection.
posted by desjardins at 11:35 AM on November 19, 2008


I think he stopped posting here because his posts were getting ridiculous, and people here were calling him out about it. I think the last thing he posted was about how Reading Lolita in Tehran was neo-con propaganda.
posted by chunking express at 11:57 AM on November 19, 2008


omg - horrifying news!
posted by madamjujujive at 11:59 AM on November 19, 2008


It should do shouldn't it? What are the Canadian govt. usually like in these situations?

Not very helpful is what. If it were a matter of him being wanted by Iranian authorities for a matter which might result in the death penalty, it is considered obligatory (post Burns and Raffay) to seek assurances that the penalty will not be carried out. In early 2008 I believe it was, the Harper government announced that it would no longer be carrying this out as a matter of course, and would only in exceptional cases be seeking such assurances. That doesn't apply here in any case, as he's not in our custody, but it gives you a sense of Harper's approach to matters like this.

This is largely a DFAIT matter now. If it were extradition, it would be Justice via their IAG section (International Assistance Group) with DFAIT working on assurances with various Justice components possibly helping out (CIC, CBSA, HRLS). With this person already arrested in Iran, it's all about DFAIT and how much pressure Canada can and will bring to bear. If history is any indication, not that much, I'm afraid.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:06 PM on November 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


damn, i always loved getting Iran fixes from his comments & posts.

these might be of some use:

PEN International

International PEN, the worldwide association of writers, was founded in London in 1921 to promote friendship and intellectual co-operation among writers everywhere. [...] Other goals included: [...] to act as a powerful voice on behalf of writers harassed, imprisoned and sometimes killed for their views. It is the world’s oldest human rights organization and the oldest international literary organization.

American & Canadian chapters are linked at the bottom of the Wiki page.

and, of course, there's Amnesty.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:14 PM on November 19, 2008


If you want to contact someone, I would suggest DFAIT minister Lawrence Cannon (at Cannon.L@parl.gc.ca), and your own MP. Be civil and articulate, please. Getting your hate on doesn't help when writing to ministerial staff (the best you can hope for is to get a kind of aggregate impression sent his way; he will never see your individual message, but a civil manner is the best way to get it counted at all).
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:14 PM on November 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Definitely write Amnesty. Human Rights Watch couldn't hurt, either.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:15 PM on November 19, 2008


[this is not good] he's being bumped to the top of my atheist prayer list now. The death penalty is serious fucking business.

If you're a Canadian citizen, perhaps now is a good time to contact your local politicians/news outlets, no matter how pointless it may seem? The least you can do is make other people aware.
posted by saturnine at 12:15 PM on November 19, 2008


Hossein Derakshshan is featured in a 2007 audio interview in this roundtable on developing world journalists sponsored by the International Development Research Centre. I wonder if they might be an organization that would help to rally support? Does anyone have any connections there?
posted by madamjujujive at 12:18 PM on November 19, 2008


Regardless of his views or posting history this is really a terrible situation. I hope the men who have power over this will wake up from whatever silly game they are playing and spare his life.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:19 PM on November 19, 2008


That's deeply troubling. Hoder, I wish you the best of luck.
posted by theora55 at 12:19 PM on November 19, 2008


I just wrote to a few people at International Development Research Centre.
posted by madamjujujive at 12:27 PM on November 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think he stopped posting here because his posts were getting ridiculous

Just for background info, he kind of skirted the self-link line here a lot, posting about his own site and projects and those of friends, but it was mostly totally out-of-the-way stuff you couldn't find otherwise and he'd been such a longtime member that I kind of gave him a free pass on a lot of the stuff.

Still, this was horrifying news to read this morning. I remember he was bracing for this kind of thing on his trip back in 2005, but given the current climate between the US and Iran, this couldn't come at a worse time.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:29 PM on November 19, 2008


hm, my Federal MP was one of my sister's high school buddies. she normally responds personally when i hassle her from time to time about some government policy or other. i don't see Australia having much of a say in this, but i'll drop her a line anyway...
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:33 PM on November 19, 2008


Holy nutrot! That's terrible news. He was my entryway into Iranian pop and folk music. This is terrible to hear.
posted by Kattullus at 12:37 PM on November 19, 2008


It's intriguing that his Wikipedia page hasn't yet been updated with news of the arrest; that's very un-Wikipedia-like.
posted by delfuego at 12:37 PM on November 19, 2008


Canadian citizenship helps? Like hell. Ask Maher Arar or Zahra Kazemi or Omar Khadr, then we can discuss the spineless Canadian government and what citizenship means. really. not fucking much if you aren't White, it appears. Ask First Nation people how they're doing [aside from time in jail and on go nowhere Reserves].
[Alvy Ampersand & Zahra beat me to my Kazemi link, however...good to see many haven't forgotten]

"Mr Derakhshan is under interrogation and during initial questioning “admitted” to spying for Israel"

"Mr Derakhshan, visiting to cover presidential elections in 2005, he was prevented from leaving the country for a week and interrogated by police. He was allowed to leave after being forced to sign an apology."

Sounds too familiar. Credibility=Zero.

Iran's 'spying' charges are similar to Bush's 'terrorist alert' to restrict freedom of rights, a bullshit blanket. Ask Putin how he deals with a difference of opinion - who needs proof - I'm the dictator.


Pardon my rant. I find it upsetting, but Derakhshan was quite aware what could possibly happen should he return to Iran. The fact he thought he could do more from inside Iran I find to be folly, at best naive. His statement that he has Canadian citizenship and can go anywhere is true, but whether you get out alive or missing limbs is quite another story - you aren't in Canada anymore, Dorothy.

I never find it pointless writing my Member of Parliament my opinion on issues. I ratchet down the anger and stay on point - you get more with honey than vinegar.
posted by alicesshoe at 12:39 PM on November 19, 2008


I haven't read enough of his stuff, but if this anti-Israel thing was recent is it possible the change in tone was an attempt to fend off exactly what has happened to him now?

Also, this is totally fucked up.
posted by schroedinger at 12:40 PM on November 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


hehe - last time i saw her i kicked her & current aussie prime minister kevin rudd out of our training hall - they had gone ten minutes over time in a community meeting of some sort & during the question time at the end, i was all "um, guys, are you finishing up yet? because we have this place booked as of, you know, ten minutes ago..." /derail
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:41 PM on November 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


Well shit. I'll be watching to see if there is anything I can do. This is awful.
posted by cashman at 12:58 PM on November 19, 2008


This is terrible news. I too would like to find out whether there's anything I can do.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 1:10 PM on November 19, 2008


Damn, this sucks. We take our freedoms and freedom of speech for granted. Here's hoping he makes it through this with some good stories to share.
posted by fenriq at 1:15 PM on November 19, 2008


Horrifying. Good luck, hoder, I hope they let you go soon. (If so, please stay the hell out of Iran from now on.)
posted by languagehat at 1:20 PM on November 19, 2008


Thoughts are with you. And I really hope Mefi continues to be a source of help, hope, and information for everybody. Thanks for posting this Matt.
posted by iamkimiam at 1:32 PM on November 19, 2008


That's totally fucking crazy. Just, whoa. Wow. Whoa.
posted by The Straightener at 1:34 PM on November 19, 2008


admitted to spying for Israel
... it is chilling to think how they could have wreaked that admission from him.

I am going to contact Reporters Without Borders - they have taken up bloggers' causes in other countries. Maybe some other people would write too. I think getting his name and plight out there widely might help as much as anything.

I wonder if a petition from global bloggers could help?

As to why he stopped posting here, he seemed to find a slightly bigger forum.
posted by madamjujujive at 2:14 PM on November 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yipes.
posted by klangklangston at 2:14 PM on November 19, 2008


Seconding all Canadian citizens to contact whatever connections you have, be it governmental or the mainstream media. When I attended the Forum for Young Canadians, as a naive aspiring teen politician, a group of us conversed with some protestors outside of parliament (of a minority I cannot remember) who had documents upon documents outlining the plight of their family members (many with dual citizenships) in dire need across the globe, being tried and potentially executed. They were asking for government assistance. Their attempts to even get their MP's to listen, let alone get this information into the hands of anyone meaningful were futile. So we took the documents for them, and when we got a tour of the House of Commons and got to sit in the seats of our MP's, a bunch of us put the files inside their desks (and some other particularly courageous/unethical students actually stole other documents from the tories' desks). So while I'm sceptical that our gov't will even do anything, it never hurts to get the message across by an means necessary. Write your local/campus/national paper, call the highest person up you know, contact the Canadian Embassy in Iran.
posted by ageispolis at 2:27 PM on November 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Huffington Post
Internet sans frontières (en français)
Facebook group
posted by mcwetboy at 2:30 PM on November 19, 2008


What the hell?
posted by nola at 2:31 PM on November 19, 2008


Here is a huge media list - anyone who is so moved might want to send out a few letters to try to raise awareness and increase coverage. I can't think what else we can do.
posted by madamjujujive at 2:33 PM on November 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


Don't worry, American troops will be on the ground in Tehran before Jan 20th, 2009. I'm sure they'll release him after a short stint in The Guantanamo Hilton.
posted by blue_beetle at 2:37 PM on November 19, 2008


This is horrible, horrible news. Thanks for that list, madamjujujive. I think I'm going to send a few letters tonight and some more tomorrow from work. My thoughts and prayers to him.
posted by lysistrata at 3:01 PM on November 19, 2008


Sent off a letter to my MP. She's new and will probably be in back-bench country for a while though, so I don't know if she'll act on it.
posted by CKmtl at 3:17 PM on November 19, 2008


I just sent a note to Democracy Now!; it seems like the kind of story that they'd be on top of. I hope everything works out okay for him.
posted by sugarfish at 3:28 PM on November 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


chunking express: his posts were getting ridiculous, and people here were calling him out about it

Yeah, you really went after him last year, I remember. You may be right about how awful he is, I dunno, but you've been pointing out how much you and your wife hate his stuff for a while now.

CunningLinguist: The more you read about this, the more tangled it gets.

That's for sure. I haven't followed his site in a long time, and was captivated by the early stories about his success and influence, but the evolution as described in the links is interesting, to say the least.
posted by mediareport at 3:30 PM on November 19, 2008


Just to put this in perspective, despite whatever degree of complicity or acquiescence people here ascribe to Canada (views vary) in what happened to Arar, and what continues to happen to Khadr, these were primarily the actions of an ally. Discussion about direct pull with Tehran is something completely different.

That said, let's not derail this with counterproductive partisan kvetching.

Fair enough, except for one factual observation: you may want to recall Harper's historic break two years ago from traditional Canadian non-partisan peacebrokering, in strongly siding with Israel in its attacks on Lebanon. This government has less of an audience in the middle east than any before it in my lifetime. (some) Canadians will pay the price for that.

That's not saying you shouldn't try to generate some pressure. Please do so.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 3:33 PM on November 19, 2008


This is just weird. Why they hell would they want to harm someone who is so clearly advocating on their behalf? He went to Israel to try to foster some kind of good will between the people of your nations fer fuck's sake,

That's not a reason to arrest someone, it's something you give them an award for.
posted by quin at 3:52 PM on November 19, 2008


So many other Canadian MeFites have already explained the lame stance the Canadian government takes in these matters which is basically that Canadians should STFU while abroad.
posted by GuyZero at 3:59 PM on November 19, 2008


Oh shit. Good luck, hoder. I wish there was something I could do.
posted by sveskemus at 4:08 PM on November 19, 2008


The Canadian government no longer gives a flying fuck about its travelling citizens. Used to be we'd insist that Canucks facing the death penalty be brought home to life imprisonment but, noooo, we don't do that any more. Fucking fuckers. I can only hope we lose an MP or two to a foreign jail.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:29 PM on November 19, 2008


Irony meter is off the charts, since looking through his FPPs and after reading that article, sounds like he's been a proponent of Iran.

I suppose it is ironic, but it is insensitive, to say the least, to bring that up in this context. It doesn't matter if he has been a supporter of Iran in the past. It is his right to express his own views and opinions without fear of punishment.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:57 PM on November 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


If you guys really push the word and help him to become a "media darling" it just might save his life. I'm not very media savvy, but I'll try to do something too.

Good luck, hoder!
posted by snsranch at 5:44 PM on November 19, 2008


"I believe that Internet censorship is an internal problem and the only way to solve it should also come and develop from within. Taking such efforts beyond Iran and into the international scene will benefit the American politicians more than the Iranian internet users."

Given that his previous efforts to spread awareness of censorship in Iran included reporting on Iranian bloggers in the same position he's in now, I guess he has asked you not to "save his life". It should not stop anyone from trying, I hope.
posted by sfenders at 5:53 PM on November 19, 2008


KokuRyu, I think you have to be reading into my post in order for it to come off as insensitive, but you read it how you like.

I have no idea how you came up with the idea I don't think he should have a right to express his ideas.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:01 PM on November 19, 2008


"All of your bloggers are belong to us!"
posted by augustweed at 6:07 PM on November 19, 2008


So, here we are, early in the 21st century, our joyous and advanced modern world.... I hope the best for hoder; and if he gets out it would suck greatly to never be able to go home again.
posted by buzzman at 6:21 PM on November 19, 2008


The political scene in Iran is complex and more multifaceted than our bipolar media can really dig at... regardless of hoder's leanings post-wise, he's immersed in that often conflicting world and I'm not. I've no place to judge him, and can only hope that online solidarity for free speech can eclipse whatever contextual qualms stand in the way of advocating for justice.
posted by moonbird at 7:00 PM on November 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


This definitely comes across like he's being jailed, and facing execution, not for any wavering loyalty to Iran, but for having the temerity to publicly express that Israel may be something other than undiluted evil.

Seriously, what the fuck Iran? If anyone knows anything that we can do, let us know. I for one will take this around to the appropriate groups at my law school and see what kind of cause can be stirred up.

Thanks for posting, Matt
posted by Navelgazer at 7:01 PM on November 19, 2008


I sent my MP an email. Let's hope for the best from the Canadian government.
posted by purephase at 7:20 PM on November 19, 2008


This is really, really, really bad.
I am writing a letter to my MP (Paul Dewar, who will actually give a fuck) and Laurence Cannon (who probably won't) and I'm going to write letters to newspapers. This demands attention. I STRONGLY encourage all Canadian Mefites to get in touch with their MPs and Cannon as well.

I hate to say this, now, but...
This is the final straw.
I no longer have any hope of visiting my home country. Not under these conditions.
posted by Menomena at 7:29 PM on November 19, 2008


I think the last thing he posted was about how Reading Lolita in Tehran was neo-con propaganda.

I remember that post well, and I remember a distinct feeling of "WTF?!" and yet, I think of it every time I see that book. I didn't realize that the mastermind behind the post was Iranian himself. It takes on all kinds of new, vibrantly weird colors now.

Best of luck to him and all vibrant weirdness he may have. This is really awful beyond words.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 7:48 PM on November 19, 2008


alicesshoe writes "not fucking much if you aren't White, it appears."

This has got little to do with being white. Lots of white Canadians are rotting away in foreign jails. It's just that the bad guy hot spot has shifted to the Middle East (remember when it was the Libyans?) and so the news is full of those countries treating there ethnics badly.
posted by Mitheral at 7:53 PM on November 19, 2008


It is his right to express his own views and opinions without fear of punishment.

True, if you live in a country which belives in and protects those freedoms. Iran isn't such a place, and this is common knowledge to pretty much everyone. In Iran you should probably fear punishment if you are rocking the boat.

mediareport, I might find Hoder obnoxious, but that doesn't change the fact I think the Canadian government should ensure he gets back home. People shouldn't be arrested for being dicks. I've written my MP already. Hopefully others do the same. This story is on Torontoist now as well.

Also, it looks like there is apparently only one source for this news. Hopefully this is all a lot of nothing.
posted by chunking express at 7:55 PM on November 19, 2008


That said, let's not derail this with counterproductive partisan kvetching.

Fair enough, except for one factual observation: you may want to recall Harper's historic break two years ago from traditional Canadian non-partisan peacebrokering, in strongly siding with Israel in its attacks on Lebanon. This government has less of an audience in the middle east than any before it in my lifetime. (some) Canadians will pay the price for that.


It should also be recalled that the Liberal government and then-ministers Graham and Pettigrew's response to the Kazemi murder was to repeatedly pull the Canadian ambassador to Iran and limit all official discourse with Iran to nuclear proliferation, human rights, and Kazemi. The decisions were incredibly stupid and short-sighted posturing, and worst of all, essentially put the ball in Iran's court - which they were only more than happy to ignore - and greatly diminished whatever slight influence any future Canadian governments would have there, regardless of who was sitting on which side of the House. We could go back and forth like this all day, and like I said before, using this as an excuse to spit in Harper's general direction - as much fun as it is and as much as I enjoy it myself - does nothing to address the real problem.

That's not saying you shouldn't try to generate some pressure. Please do so.

Indeedy.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:32 PM on November 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Amen, Alvy Ampersand!
posted by timeistight at 1:12 AM on November 20, 2008


Good luck, Hoder.
posted by YouRebelScum at 2:51 AM on November 20, 2008


Best of luck hoder!
posted by asok at 4:22 AM on November 20, 2008


I have a bucket of MPs and MSPs (scottish parliament), would that help?
posted by By The Grace of God at 5:50 AM on November 20, 2008


2005 article on Iranian blogger crackdown.

Fuck. I hope things go well for him.
posted by BrotherCaine at 5:52 AM on November 20, 2008


Finally, a real reason to invade iran. oh, he's canadian. nevermind
posted by cellphone at 6:15 AM on November 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Shit. I'll be writing my MP about this, along with the MP of foreign affairs.

I am a white Albertan, but not well-off, so I don't know if it will do anything.
posted by never used baby shoes at 6:42 AM on November 20, 2008


The Globe and Mail reports what one of the reporters on the story told me last night: that DFAIT says it has not been informed by Iran of hoder's arrest. If Tehran doesn't recognize his Canadian citizenship, though ...
posted by mcwetboy at 6:49 AM on November 20, 2008


Alvy_Ampersand -- where exactly do you get off? I’m not the one pushing the corpse of Kazemi around this thread. Note that I did not and do not disagree with your comments on that case. However, it doesn’t serve as an example to Iran of what this administration will or will not do, so much as the underlying situation, which has not changed (a politically active nation with little in the way of actual international clout, and a comparatively small market to use as either carrot or stick). What I was talking about were two informative policy shifts – one this government’s change in the way it treats its obligation with regard to securing assurances against the death penalty for Canadians (informative to us), and another that shows Iran it is dealing with a stridently pro-Israel administration (informative to Tehran).

mcwetboy -- it takes a bit of time for this to get before the right sets of eyeballs. But it is happening.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:18 AM on November 20, 2008


I am pretty sure Iran does not recognize dual-nationality if you're an Iranian. Iran is like many countries which consider their nationals citizens regardless of where they were born, or whether they hold other citizenship. (Syria, South Korea are like this too I think.) In fact, I think if you are a foreign national that marries an Iranian you automagically become an Iranian. So I don't think Hoder would have been allowed to travel on his Canadian passport, even if he wanted to. And Iranian nationals are going to have a harder time of things than straight up foreigners.
posted by chunking express at 7:21 AM on November 20, 2008


That Globe article doesn't paint an optimistic portrait of hoder's chances.

I've been passing the news onto others and I'll give my MP's office a call today.
posted by ODiV at 7:42 AM on November 20, 2008


I'll write to my MP and Foreign Affairs today.
posted by jokeefe at 8:36 AM on November 20, 2008


Most repressive regimes care about their own ideology up until the point where it threatens to undermine the regime itself. With hoder you begin to see the beginnings of a coherent framework of Iranian nationalism both compliments the current propaganda and manages to exist outside of it. This is much, much more dangerous than any "Bush doctrine" or neo-con philosophy to the current post-revolution government. Hoder, importantly, provided a mechanism of change, and it was not clear whether he fully realized this himself or not. This is not to elevate him to some sort of modern day Che, his ideas are shared by his contemporaries, but there seems to be a synthesis among Iranian intellectuals that they can exist without needing to project a "bad part of town" image to the world. Really my point is that while this might look like a contradiction, it is only at the most superficial level. A weak parallel, and I mean very weak, is Obama managing to show that being American isn't wearing lapel flag pins, coming from Mayflower descendants or being able to build a shelter with masking tape, a bobby pin and a dull hunting knife.
posted by geoff. at 9:42 AM on November 20, 2008


Over the past few years my opinion of him had been on a steady downward slope. He started posting really thin meatless links and not bothering to answer or address MeFites' (imo valid) criticisms of said links, and then he seemed to turn into an apologist for the animals in charge of Iran. I wonder if he's familiar with the Grizzly Diaries and what became of Timothy Treadwell.

I wish him luck. He'll need it.
posted by Devils Slide at 9:45 AM on November 20, 2008


Just wrote to Tim Hunt, husband of Morton Beiser. Perhaps they have connections who might help.

So sorry for hoder. My prayers for his safety, for his life.
posted by nickyskye at 10:21 AM on November 20, 2008


Now on the CBC.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 11:17 AM on November 20, 2008


Man, the comments on that CBC page makes me think he'd do better in Iran.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:28 PM on November 20, 2008


Yeah, all the serious ass mouth breathers crawl out of their caves to comment on the CBC and the Globe and Mail. I don't know why they don't moderate their comments. It's a fucking embarrassment half the time.
posted by chunking express at 12:31 PM on November 20, 2008


I'm new here and I don't know this guy. Like everyone else, I hope he gets out of this somehow. But bear with me for one stupid suggestion.

From what's been said, is it at all possible that the charges are true? Yes, I know the chances of an accusation by the Iranian government being true. But if he really did suddenly become a superficial pro-Iran poster, and stop really trying to defend himself or make credible arguments, is it possible it's all been an act? Could he really be a sort of deeper undercover version of Stephen Colbert? Could he have been working with Israel and adopting an obviously flimsy, naive pro-Iran position just as a cover?

I know this sounds pretty tinfoil-hat. I guess it's just hard for me to understand someone like that suddenly switching from anti- to pro-Iran.
posted by Xezlec at 1:38 PM on November 20, 2008


I really don't think he's a secret agent. For starters, he was never anti-Iran. He's always been a fierce nationalist. What changed was his shift in support to Ahmadinejad. I think he became very defensive when the neocons wanted to blow up Iran, defending the country a bit too blindly.
posted by chunking express at 2:05 PM on November 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Update on Hoder. Hamid Tehrani at Global Voices Online is still not convinced Hoder has been arrested.
posted by chunking express at 2:13 PM on November 20, 2008



Over the past few years my opinion of him had been on a steady downward slope. He started posting really thin meatless links and not bothering to answer or address MeFites' (imo valid) criticisms of said links, and then he seemed to turn into an apologist for the animals in charge of Iran. I wonder if he's familiar with the Grizzly Diaries and what became of Timothy Treadwell.


OH HAI UR LNKX SUCK DIE IN IRANIAN PRISON!
posted by rodgerd at 2:44 PM on November 20, 2008


Hamid Tehrani at Global Voices Online is still not convinced Hoder has been arrested.

I don't know... but that piece with his name on it from the official state news organization makes it look a fair bit more likely.
posted by sfenders at 3:11 PM on November 20, 2008


One of my MP's assistants just emailed me, asking me if I could please provide hoder's contact info...

I passed on a few of the links from here, instead of saying "Sorry, I'm not privy to the phone number of the prison Iran uses for supposed Zionist Spies" like I really, really wanted to.
posted by CKmtl at 3:54 PM on November 20, 2008 [3 favorites]


THE EMPEROR WILL SEE WHAT HE CAN DO FOR HODER!

(bastards touch a hair on his head and I'll strip the whole Iranian appartaus operating in the U.S., call toby esterhazy, have him pick up those two economists we have been keeping our eyes on...er)
posted by clavdivs at 4:04 PM on November 20, 2008


I appreciate the posting of this media list. Just a few minutes can help shine a light on this.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:22 PM on November 20, 2008


Canada cannot do anything for dual citizens. Its influence in the cases of Canadians who are arrested in countries where they are foreign nationals has been limited (see William Sampson case above - and he had the UK and Canada pulling for him), and it's non-existent in the case of dual citizens. In addition to the Kazemi case, there has also been a case of a dual Chinese-Canadian citizen who was arrested for promoting Falun Gong in China - and nothing could be done for him, because he was a Chinese citizen as well as Canadian.

It sounds awful - but think of it this way: if an American-Canadian dual citizen was arrested in the US for a crime there, even if its not a crime in Canada, should they be extradited? I know there is no moral equivalency between the Iranian and American legal systems, but there is a legal equivalency.

If anything can be done for hoder, and I hope something can, I don't think it can be done on any legal/extradition grounds. It would have to be pure dimplomacy.
posted by jb at 9:31 PM on November 20, 2008


Derakhshan 'confesses' :The official Iranian news agency has published what appears to be the first instalment of Hossein Derakhshan's "confession" statement, in which he talks about Iranian dissidents being "duped" into attacking the Islamic republic from the west.
posted by adamvasco at 11:15 PM on November 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


It sounds like the Iranian authorities have decided that he's propagandistically useful à la Winston Smith. Pour encourager les autres. Shudder.
posted by mcwetboy at 4:47 AM on November 21, 2008


OH HAI UR LNKX SUCK DIE IN IRANIAN PRISON
posted by rodgerd at 2:44 PM on November 20 [+] [!]



Fuck you. I'm an Iranian myself and I've been enraged and depressed so many times over the years by what they do to innocent people in my country of birth. hoder was someone I repected for years, and when I said, "I wish him luck" I truly meant it. Oh! Oh! I said "links" instead of "posts", and that I was alienated by hoder! That must mean I'm a mouthbreathing Neanderthal who could give a rat's ass if people are tortured and executed. Fuck you again.
posted by Devils Slide at 5:36 AM on November 21, 2008 [5 favorites]


Incidentally, both my parents would suffer the same fate as hoder upon arrival in Iran because of their public "anti-Islamic Republic" comments and activities. I have three relatives who were detained, beaten, and threatened by the Revolutionary Guard, although fortunately they're all safe and sound abroad now. My uncle was held in a tiny cell with over 50 other people during the 80's because of a book they'd found in his possesssion, and suffered almost daily beatings for just over two years.

OK, hai gtg to Fark now.
posted by Devils Slide at 5:55 AM on November 21, 2008


Wrote to my MP. The guy was a do-er, and spoke his mind. I'm not sure how much Canada can do for him, though.

Which countries could actually have much influence on Iran?
posted by anthill at 7:13 PM on November 21, 2008


The Globe and Mail actually contacted me for that article. No one seems to know anything.
posted by HopperFan at 6:37 AM on November 22, 2008


The 'blogfather' of Iran What surprised me about Hossein Derakhshan when I interviewed him in a café on Jerusalem's Emek Refaim Street two years ago was that the self-exiled Iranian, who was arrested this month during a visit to Tehran on suspicion of being an Israeli spy, favored a nuclear-armed Iran and a religious Islamic regime.
posted by adamvasco at 7:32 AM on November 22, 2008


Derakhshan made it clear, however, that it was only from the current regime that he was dissenting, not from the notion of an Islamic republic, even though he was an avowed atheist. "I support any government that attempts to marry democracy and religion," he said.

I can't get my head around the seeming idiocy of this -- implicitly it means he'd support an acutal Christian theocracy in the U.S.? -- but I hope he gets out safely nonetheless.
posted by scody at 1:03 PM on November 22, 2008


scody: I think that comment was probably made considering the alternative - a total Islamic theocracy. Any consideration of democracy is an improvement.

Good luck, hoder.
posted by goo at 2:00 PM on November 23, 2008


Another good round up of this situation: Where's Hoder?
posted by chunking express at 6:55 AM on November 24, 2008


BBC's world service had a story about this today (this week) on Digital Planet.
posted by idb at 9:16 AM on November 25, 2008


Global Advocacy writes about two bloggers definitely under arrest in Iran.
posted by chunking express at 11:37 AM on November 25, 2008


Iran, a Nation of Bloggers.
posted by gman at 2:34 PM on November 25, 2008


This was discussed on The Current on the CBC today (nationwide). Download of the show (or at least part of the show is available here)

The Current 11.26.08
posted by Deep Dish at 6:01 PM on November 26, 2008


How did he even get into Israel in the first place? I know some guys in Texas that did security work for the Israeli government and the Mossad was giving them a lot of grief at the airport. I can't imagine how a pro-Iranian non-citizen got into that country.
posted by crapmatic at 6:50 PM on November 27, 2008


How Hoder galvanized the Iranians of 'Tehranto': His divergent political views made him a star of the blogosphere. Now that Hossein Derakhshan is missing in Iran, Toronto bloggers are abuzz
posted by homunculus at 12:18 AM on December 2, 2008


(FYI, that article was written by one of Metafilter's own, bicyclefish.)
posted by chunking express at 7:35 AM on December 2, 2008


Please write your congress-people and MP's about this. There is not enough conversation happening at the top levels about this. We need movement or else he is going to get forgotten and beheaded.
posted by Pollomacho at 6:10 AM on December 3, 2008


I think you are mixing up Middle Eastern countries. He might get hanged though, which sucks all the same I suppose.
posted by chunking express at 6:44 AM on December 3, 2008


I think you are mixing up Middle Eastern countries.

No, just the crime. You are right though, espionage is punishable by hanging. Other crimes are punishable by beheading in Iran though it is rare and the preferred method of execution is hanging.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:35 PM on December 3, 2008


I finally heard back from my MP's Assistant. I wrote him on Nov 19th. It's Dec 5th today. He was letting me know that they had received my email. I shit you not. Go Canada!
posted by chunking express at 1:18 PM on December 5, 2008


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