26 November 2006

Zahra Kamalfar Trapped At Sheremetyevo Airport - truth or hoax?

I have got this story from Dick the Texas Scribbler. My first reaction (yesterday) was becoming mad for a while.

After sleeping on it, I have started to burn some serious megabits googling the name. So, the story goes like this:

Case in point, Zahra Kamalfar. She is an Iranian dissenter. She has two teenage children. She is in the transit area of Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport and has been there with her children 73 days. She is there because she was able to escape prison when on a 2-day furlough to visit her children. Unless a miracle happens, she will be on a plane on her way to face the not-so-tender mercies of those she protested, including the probability of torture and rape.
There are more details on the plight of Zahra Kamalfar on Petition Online. There is a video clip here with Ms. Kamalfar telling her own story (via an interpreter).

One of the sources reports that "Zahra Kamalfar is under the watchful eye of three Iranian men with ear pieces." If that is true, Russians are keeping their end of Russian-Persian alliance up in the inimitable style that is their trademark.

However, here the question marks start. My roaming of the Internet streets and alleys has not resulted in a single MSM source confirming or denying the story. There is at least one source that doubts the story:
The video about Zahra Kamalfar has been submitted to us several times. The video looks like a spoof of 'The Terminal', the drama loosely based on Merhan Kerimi Nasseri's experience at the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. Our Russian contact told us the following.

This looks much like fake to me. See, the guy in the comments says the right thing: - This sounds suspiciously like the plot of the 2004 Tom Hanks movie "The Terminal"

I made a quick search in russian search engines for any possible variant of russian transliteration for Kamalfar - nothing. And also (in russinan this has no variants of spelling) "zahra iran sheremet'evo" - nothing. Google returns just 43 results for "Zahra Kamalfar" - can you imagine, if some political activist would be trapped in the airport for 2.5 months there'd be lots more comments on that.

I fucking love the US journalists: Ms Kamalfar is guilty of being an Iranian who wants to live in a free country. This sounds for them as if she is the "good guy" and have all rights to do whatever the fuck she wants. Are they getting wet in their panties when they hear "free country"?

There are some problems with the shot video. Ms. Kamalfar and her children are wearing makeup. The video claims the children have lost teeth and have "brown spots", but they aren't shown. The voice over while informative, doesn't allow for any independant translation of the dialogue.
This source does not sound as if he wants this story to be true, rather the opposite. So, to the pros and cons of the story:

Con: there is nothing about the story in MSM. On the other hand, it is not very surprising for several reasons: most of the "action" was contained in the airports in relatively secure and press-free environment. Especially in the Sheremetyevo Airport.

Con: makeup. Sounds too idiotic really. I cannot claim to be a world expert in female psychology, but why use of makeup invalidates the rest of the story is known only to the author of the brilliant idea.

Con: voiceover. But does the author pretend to knowledge of Farsi?

Con: lack of hits on Internet. By now it is more than 28,000, however it is mostly bloggers. On the other hand - what does this Russian expert expect, when a person is effectively incarcerated in the international terminal of a Russain airport? A big TV show? Such a "naive" reasoning shows rather a prejudiced mind than anything else.

Pro: no independent Iranian source abroad derailed the story so far, and it is difficult to imagine that a person pretending to be a known dissident wouldn't be debunked in a jiffy.

Pro: European MSM are wary of attacking Putin's regime lately - they know only too well where the petrol they fill their car's tanks and the gas they heat their houses with come from.

Pro: The very story of
Merhan Kerimi Nasseri's experience at the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. Granted, it is no evidence, but could serve as an excellent character witness.

In short - let's wait a bit. Oh - and sign that petition, while it is hardly a savior, it couldn't cause any harm.