Torture in Iranian Prisons

Needless to say, this is both entirely obscene, and entirely unsurprising, given the nature of the current regime in Tehran: Political prisoners in Tehran's Evin prison have allegedly been subjected to humiliating physical abuse, including being forced to run a gauntlet of guards armed with batons, it has emerged. Iran's president, Hassan Rouhani, has been silent …

Iran Is Not a Theocracy. It Is a Theocratic Mafiocracy.

To wit: The 82-year-old Iranian woman keeps the documents that upended her life in an old suitcase near her bed. She removes them carefully and peers at the tiny Persian script. There's the court order authorizing the takeover of her children's three Tehran apartments in a multi-story building the family had owned for years. There's …

Quote of the Day

In 1970, when China was in the grip of the Cultural Revolution, Zhang Hongbing, a 16-year-old in Guzhen, a county in Anhui Province, made a fateful decision. During a family debate that year, his mother, Fang Zhongmou, had criticized Mao Zedong for his cult of personality. Her son and his father, believing her views to be counterrevolutionary, …

What Iranian “Reformers” Hath Wrought

Presumably, this is what we are supposed to expect from a government that allegedly is more enlightened than it used to be: At least 80 people and perhaps as many as 95 have been executed in Iran already this year, a surge in the use of the death penalty that has dampened hopes for human rights reforms under …

Quote of the Day

It’s a thought experiment I often present to the Western Chavista, one that usually ends up demonstrating that sympathizers of the regime, both in this country and in Europe, have something of a colonialist attitude towards Venezuela. Because one wonders the reaction of these faux progressives if Prime Minister David Cameron, President Barack Obama, Chancellor …

Venezuelans Rise Up

I am sure that apologists for Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro will continue to try to ignore the protests against authoritarianism, political repression, and garden variety tyranny in Venezuela, but everyone else is paying very close attention: Protests against President Nicolás Maduro's government escalated Thursday, with thousands of demonstrators burning tires and cars and security forces fighting …

Question of the Day in Venezuela: “Where Are We Going, and What’s With the Handbasket?”

I imagine that most port-side pundits, politicians and bloggers in the United States who in the past showed sympathy for Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro are busy trying to be very, very, very quiet about this: Fugitive Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez calmly turned himself in to authorities Tuesday as thousands of pro- and anti-government supporters rallied …