Opinion: No one wants Ganji to die

27 July 2005

The Mullahs are champion liars. They lie about their nuclear program to the United Nations, they lie about Zahra Kazemi to the Canadians and they lie to their own people and the world about Akbar Ganji.

I mention this because they don’t need someone as intelligent and honest as Hoder lying for them. And that’s exactly what your last post is: a lie on behalf of Ganji’s jailors. Hoder supposes that a martyred Ganji would serve the pernicious motives of his most vocal defenders, by unifying the Iranian opposition. And then in a further leap, he says that Ganji’s call to boycott an election--both meaningless and fixed--served the purposes of a regime intent on persuading the world it is a democracy.

Leaving aside that such assertions would require us to believe Hoder is a mind reader, they are also most clearly false. If Ganji was serving the interests of his jailors then why is he in jail? Why would Mortazavi bother to say he is not on a hunger strike or that he was rushed to the hospital for “knee surgery,” if all along he is serving their agenda?

Furthermore, if the president really wants Mr. Ganji to die, then why has he demanded that he be released from jail, so he can end his hunger strike? If the neocons wanted Ganji dead, then they would take a cue from the rest of the western media and not say a word about him. As history has proven, it is far easier for despots to let their dissidents die in prisons when no one bothers to speak up on their behalf in the free world. You can't name a political dissident or hunger striker that has eschewed the support of foreign governments or journalists.

No one wants Ganji to die. He is far too valuable to Iran’s democracy movement alive.

Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals

To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.

By adding my name to this campaign, I authorise openDemocracy and Foxglove to keep me updated about their important work.

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