December 24, 2015

"After spending 444 days in captivity, and more than 30 years seeking restitution, the Americans taken hostage at the United States Embassy in Tehran in 1979 have finally won compensation."

"Buried in the huge spending bill signed into law last Friday are provisions that would give each of the 53 hostages or their estates up to $4.4 million...."
“I had to pull over to the side of the road, and I basically cried,” said Rodney V. Sickmann, who was a Marine sergeant working as a security guard at the embassy in Tehran when he was seized along with the other Americans by an angry mob that overran the compound on Nov. 4, 1979. “It has been 36 years, one month, 14 days, obviously, until President Obama signed the actual bill, until Iran was held accountable,” he said.
Iran is held accountable?

I had to read through many paragraphs of the linked NYT article trying to piece together the answer the obvious question:
[T]his year... a decision... forced the Paris-based bank BNP Paribas to pay a $9 billion penalty for violating sanctions against Iran, Sudan and Cuba. Some of that money was suddenly available for victims of state-sponsored terrorism....

[T]he $4.4 million total authorized by Congress depends on the outcome of efforts to collect on judgments won in earlier court rulings involving victims of terrorist attacks.... Of the $9 billion penalty paid by BNP Paribas, about $1 billion will be put into a compensation fund for victims of terrorism, with more money and assets potentially added as a result of continuing litigation....

Some former hostages and their family members had expressed frustration at the Justice and State Departments for blocking efforts over the years to get compensation. In a sense, the spending bill represents Congress’s taking control of the BNP Paribas money back from the Justice Department.
Here's the top-rated comment at the NYT:
Oh, the always exceptional Americano hypocrisy. Has the US paid the Iranian victims of the American coup de etat that deposed their elected government in 1953? Has the US paid the Iranian victims of the US armed Saddam Hussein when he used US supplied chemical weapons and US supplied satellite imagery to use those WMD's on Iran? And, oh, the bleating about the hostages. Not mentioned is the fact that, at the time, the US Embassy Tehran was the largest CIA station in the world. We did pay the 290 victims, 66 of them children, when the USS Vincennes shot two missiles that blasted Iran Air 655 out of the sky. We never did apologise though. On the other hand, has any American, wrongly convicted and imprisoned, for decades, in our own country, been paid $10,000 a day? As we, the always exceptional, would say: Nope.

31 comments:

damikesc said...

Has the US paid the Iranian victims of the American coup de etat that deposed their elected government in 1953?

Who are these "victims" and how were they "victimized"? Our people were held hostage by savages that still run that shithole.

Has the US paid the Iranian victims of the US armed Saddam Hussein when he used US supplied chemical weapons and US supplied satellite imagery to use those WMD's on Iran?

The US was responsible when a country mis-uses material requested for research? That is a new one.

Not mentioned is the fact that, at the time, the US Embassy Tehran was the largest CIA station in the world.

Ah, the "They had it coming" canard.

We did pay the 290 victims, 66 of them children, when the USS Vincennes shot two missiles that blasted Iran Air 655 out of the sky. We never did apologise though.

I suppose relevance is too much to ask of the "erudite" NYT audience.

Has Iran compensated others for the deaths caused by their funding of terrorist groups? These commenters are fucking idiots.

tim maguire said...

Always this weird, "you can't do this thing until you do all these other things too!" What bullshit, what empty posturing. Of course that pile of thoughtless garbage masquerading as sophistication is the top rated comment.

Is it a good idea? Don't know. Do these people deserve compensation? Don't care. But you can't do it until you do what I want for my hobby horse. Or else you are a hypocrite.

madAsHell said...

until President Obama signed the actual bill, until Iran was held accountable,”

The quotation ends with a comma. I wonder what else was said.
Did he really say "President Obama"? I think most speakers would just say the President, or Obama, or maybe just say "until the bill was signed".

If I recall correctly, Sgt. Sickmann was supposed to fight to the death, but was told to stand down.

David Hampton said...

Any country who lives by the motto of "Great Satan" and "Death To America" are the bad guys. Anyone with a problem of enemy identification should consider the situation when Iran gets a nuclear weapon to use as leverage against us and the west. Iran is a pariah state and needs to be treated as such.

Jim Nicholson said...

I realize it' a lot of fun posting things from that silly parody site, but I wish serious bloggers would stick to hard news.

Michael K said...

The New York readers of the Times are immune to logic and facts. DeBlasio will help to introduce them but it will take another year or two.

jimbino said...

The payments are another affront to the lifestyle choices of single and childfree captives, who won't get any of the $600,000 paid to "children and spouses" of the captives. At least the spouse of a gay captive will be entitled to a payment.

Why does our law continue to reward people for complicating their lives with spouses and children?

David said...

By 1953 the head of the elected government in Iran, Mohammed Mossaddegh, had dissolved the Iranian parliament and begun to legislate and administer on his own without democratic support. Essentially he had assumed the powers of a dictator. So while there may be much to criticize about the American involvement in the 1953 coup, the implication that we overturned a democracy is misleading.

There is no doubt that the Americans engineered the coup. It was hardly a secret, even at the time, since CIA Director Allen Dulles personally flew from Italy to Tehran with the Shah, when the Shah returned to assume power.

Suppose Eisenhower had ignored Iran in 1953 and let the new dictatorship nationalize the (mostly British) oil concessions under dictatorial rule?. A look at the map for the time will show the northern border of Iran as USSR. Tehran is about 200 miles from that border. The Russians would have been delighted to move in, as "allies" or in some more direct fashion. How would that have worked out?

It all looks so easy if all you have to do is read the New York Times and pass judgment on people who made difficult decisions long, long ago.

Sammy Finkelman said...

Has the US paid the Iranian victims of the American coup de etat that deposed their elected government in 1953?

They benefitted from that (it prevented a dictatorship. The Shah got bad only in the 1970s. And the coup was basically done by one man: Kermit Rossevelt, and he couldn't do anyting the people of Iran didn't want.

Has the US paid the Iranian victims of the US armed Saddam Hussein when he used US supplied chemical weapons and US supplied satellite imagery to use those WMD's on Iran?

I don't think the US gave him chemical weapons. It looked the other way.

We did pay the 290 victims, 66 of them children, when the USS Vincennes shot two missiles that blasted Iran Air 655 out of the sky. We never did apologise though.

That was Casper Weinberger's fault. But it did end the Iran-Iraq war, especially since many Revolutionary Guards were on that flight. It is said also maybe it caused Iran to down Pan Am 103. (with Libya being called in when the plans of syria to do it were not working)

David Begley said...

So a French bank pays for what the Iranian government did?

Perfect liberal logic.

Given the tests of missles by Iran and the fact that Iran has not even SIGNED the deal, why isn't the MSM and the Senate demanding that sanctions stay in place?

Wayworn Wanderer said...

I continue to operate using what I call the Blue Oyster Cult theory of international politics. It's explained in their song "Divine Wind."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PkzeX0_uTM

For those of you who aren't going to listen, here's the key line: "If he really thinks we're the devil, then let's send him to hell."

I submit that this approach is infinitely better than Obozo's.

EDH said...

What about Obama turning his back on the Iranian democracy movement in 2009?

Tank said...

jimbino said...

The payments are another affront to the lifestyle choices of single and childfree captives, who won't get any of the $600,000 paid to "children and spouses" of the captives. At least the spouse of a gay captive will be entitled to a payment.

Why does our law continue to reward people for complicating their lives with spouses and children?


LOL. Darwin's idiot question of the year. You win !

Tank said...

Sorry for implying some one is an idiot on Christmas Eve.

Wait, I'm Jewish.

Sebastian said...

How exactly was Iran "held accountable" here? And how does an American decision to compensate Americans who suffered in service to America have anything to do with what America supposedly owes non-Americans for harm incurred in conflict between the U.S. and other powers? And if America owes anything to anybody else, what debts, by the same accounting, does anybody else owe us?

ddh said...

Who wrote that comment? Noam Chomsky?

Rusty said...

"I don't think the US gave him chemical weapons. It looked the other way."

Was it Dow Chemical that built the plant? I seem to remember it was.
You know wht else you can do with a fertilizer plant besides make bombs?
You can make fertilizer. Which is what the plant was intended to make. the Iranians altered the plant to make bomb grade amonium nitrate.

EDH said...
"What about Obama turning his back on the Iranian democracy movement in 2009?"

Which makes everything about Iran coming out of DC so much horse shit.
However. I'm asured, by people on this very blog, that we have absolutely nothing to worry about because our president made an ironclad deal which the Iranians are honorbound to adhere to. And Santa Clause is coming.

grackle said...

Has the US paid the Iranian victims of the American coup de etat that deposed their elected government in 1953?

The Soviets wanted access to Iranian oil. But oil costs money and communist systems suffer from a perennial lack of funds so they backed a popular figure who was sympathetic to the Soviets, Mohammad Mosaddegh, for Prime Minister. The US State Department’s eyes were opened when Mosaddegh “nationalized”(read “stole”) American and British equipment and leased oil fields.

They were opened wider when Mosaddegh and the Soviets began to make preparations with the cooperation and assistance of the Iranian Mullahs to depose our ally, the Shah of Iran. To prevent that coup the CIA pulled off a coup of its own to insure that our ally, the Shah, kept his authority.

Just a few facts about the Shah of Iran:

From Wiki: As ruler, he introduced the White Revolution, a series of economic, social and political reforms with the proclaimed intention of transforming Iran into a global power and modernizing the nation by nationalizing certain industries and granting women suffrage. A secular Muslim, Mohammad Reza gradually lost support from the Shi'a clergy of Iran as well as the working class, particularly due to his strong policy of modernization, secularization, conflict with the traditional class of merchants known as bazaari, relations with Israel, and corruption issues surrounding himself, his family, and the ruling elite.

http://tinyurl.com/zdh5ysj

Get that, readers? Here was an ally in the ME, ruling a majority-Muslim nation, who wanted to modernize his society, who wanted peace with Israel, who wanted to improve the stunted, subjugated lives of the women in his country. But there’s something about Muslim-majority populations that are confused and angered by freedom and human rights.

Eventually a stupidly ideological POTUS, Jimmy Carter, ended our support and left the Shah to the tender mercies of the Soviets and the Mullahs. Soon after that our embassy was broached, the staff kidnapped, mistreated and held hostage for over a year. Carter, probably the most thoroughly incompetent POTUS we’ve ever had, was not capable of dealing with the crisis. But the hostages got lucky when Ronald Reagan was elected POTUS. The hostages were released soon after Reagan was sworn into office because Reagan had made it plain that after he took office that American forces were going to go into Iran and resolve the hostage crisis one way or another.

walter said...

Some of the hostages also said the compensation award would serve as a reminder of the perils still faced by United States diplomatic personnel working in dangerous locations overseas, such as the diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, where Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in 2012
---
Diplomatic positions i places like this are known to have some danger. One of these folks was a Marine.
This talk of redress, reparations etc..do families of military get anything remotely similar for loss or capture?
No to downplay their hardship..but it seems like a very selective compensation...though we give selective degrees of punishment for murdering some vs others..which always strikes me as odd.

JaimeRoberto said...

According to Wikipedia, we did compensate the victims of Iran Air 655.

"As part of the settlement, the United States did not admit legal liability but agreed to pay on an ex gratia basis US$61.8 million, amounting to $213,103.45 per passenger, in compensation to the families of the Iranian victims."

Whether that money actually reached the victims is another question, but that's a question for the Iranian government.

JaimeRoberto said...

According to Wikipedia, we did compensate the victims of Iran Air 655.

"As part of the settlement, the United States did not admit legal liability but agreed to pay on an ex gratia basis US$61.8 million, amounting to $213,103.45 per passenger, in compensation to the families of the Iranian victims."

Whether that money actually reached the victims is another question, but that's a question for the Iranian government.

Drago said...

Sebastian: "How exactly was Iran "held accountable" here? And how does an American decision to compensate Americans who suffered in service to America have anything to do with what America supposedly owes non-Americans for harm incurred in conflict between the U.S. and other powers? And if America owes anything to anybody else, what debts, by the same accounting, does anybody else owe us?"

Careful.

You are likely to be charged with Logic in the First Degree with several other lesser included charges related to incorrect double-plus-ungood thought-think.

I would advise you to exercise some caution in this area.

damikesc said...

The hostages were released soon after Reagan was sworn into office

The EXACT minute, if memory serves. Reagan wasn't going to take long to get things dealt with.

But the constant "The US ruined Iranian democracy by deposing Mossadegh" was always BS. The Shah, like Pinochet or the S. Korean dictatorship, could've led to a more open government down the road.

Michael K said...

Reagan had made it plain that after he took office that American forces were going to go into Iran and resolve the hostage crisis one way or another.

There is a school thought that Reagan's firing of the air traffic controllers was deliberately meant to show his resolve to the Soviets. The Iranians had already figured that out.

Jimmy Carter's stupidity pales in comparison to Obama. At least Carter was capable of learning.

Drago said...

grackle: "The Soviets wanted access to Iranian oil."

The Soviets really wanted potential direct chokepoint control of the Straits of Hormuz.

The lefties have always been very upset that the Soviets were unable to realize that potential strategically critical geo-base.

It's clear that Obambi is doing all he can with his "flexible" approach for his Kremlin-based boyfriend to ensure that becomes a reality.

Of course, with the advent of Fracking and other advanced technology for extraction of oil and gas, the strategic value of control of the Straits of Hormuz has been diminished,

Which explains why the left is so very much against fracking. It weakens their beloveds position.

The Red-Black alliance is quite strong you know.

mccullough said...

I love the 1953 reference. What about the Arabs conquering the Persians in the 7th Century and forcing them to become Muslim and drop Zoroastrianism or perish? What about before that?

Victimolgists are very selective in their outrage as well as ignorant of history. The Persians conquered others and were conquered in return. This is called history. Not Obama's silly view of history but history. So want year do we pick to restore "the natural order"? 1979? 1959? 651? Etc

dbp said...

As I recall, Iran Air 655 was flying directly towards a carrier task force and ignored radio orders to vector away. I heard rumors that the airline had F-14 transponders as well. Even if the second point is not true, the real fault lies with the pilots of the jetliner.

My theory at the time was that the Iranians were testing to see if we would let the plane fly over our carrier. If we allowed it, the next one would be a fighter equipped with Exocets.

grackle said...

Victimolgists are very selective in their outrage as well as ignorant of history. The Persians conquered others and were conquered in return.

What was the longest lasting empire the world has ever seen?

Answer: The Moslem Empire. It began with Muhammad’s conquests and continued under several names, such as the “Persian Empire,” and competing claimants to the caliphate until the end of the Ottoman Empire in 1908. In light of recent history one wonders whether it was truly ended. And I’m not talking only about ISIS.

The Soviets really wanted potential direct chokepoint control of the Straits of Hormuz.

That too, of course. The Soviets had a host of reasons to depose the Shah. Iran was/is on their border and a friendly buffer state with their puppet, Mosaddegh, in charge was surely desirable. Beneficial trade agreements would follow from that control, perhaps even a full-fledged Muslim-majority member of the Soviet Union itself, controlled entirely from Moscow just like the rest of their satellites in Eastern Europe. Taking over the assets stolen from the British would have been a nice little bonus. Far-fetched perhaps, considering what we know now of the motives and ruthlessness of the mullahs, but the Soviets might not have seen that.

PB said...

WTF? It's just other people's money. It's not something real to the jackasses in Congress. Just legislate whatever the frack they want, because they don't care about the deficit or national debt. F them all.

Iapetus said...

"So a French bank pays for what the Iranian government did"

A French bank that owns a number of large banks in the US, including one of the largest in my state. I have to wonder if the cost of that penalty BNP has been ordered to pay will trickle down through its US bank holdings and end up being paid, in part, by the customers of its US banks. From our pockets to someone else's palm, it's the usual story.

Paco Wové said...

As my Christmas present to Althouseland, I offer this:

Whataboutism