FBI’s intimidation campaign against American freethinkers

TEHRAN, Sep. 21 (MNA) – With an international conference on peace and truth about to open in Beirut next week, the FBI has launched an intimidation campaign against American academicians, veterans and activists invited to the conference to prevent their participation.

As the 7th round of the New Horizon Conference (NHC) is scheduled to open on Monday in Lebanese capital, dozens of international experts, peace activists and thinkers are invited to attend the event known for its criticism for capitalism and liberal hegemony.

The previous rounds of the conference have been marked with its anti-Zionism and participants from four corners of the world included a number of outspoken experts protesting Israel for its occupation and atrocities against Palestinian people, or criticizing the United States for its endless wars which have left millions of casualties and calamities for the humanity.

Another edition of the event had shed light on the role of Hollywood in propagating political interests of global hegemony and in promoting and supporting the Zionist agenda through the language of art. This was indeed one of the main reasons the American administration decided to put the conference and its organizers on the list of US sanctions earlier this year, in February.

Now, with the conference going to open with a long list of figures from different nationalities, from as far as China to Russia, the Middle East and Europe, unable to prevent the conference, US officials have resorted to intimidation of American invitees to prevent them from joining the event.

According to the organizers of the conference, American guests on the list of invitees have been facing threats and harassments from FBI. The security agents have appeared at their doorsteps warning them of ‘dire consequences’ if they ‘ever tried to reattend the NHC,’ the invitees have informed the organizers.

In mid-August, three of the guests broke the news in interviews with Press TV revealing that they have been warned by FBI of a wide range of punishments from $50,000 in fine to years-long prison sentences. Former Pentagon official Michael Maloof, a former US diplomat in Saudi Arabia J. Michael Springmann, and Scott Rickard, a former service member to US Air Force and NSA, were those telling Press TV that the aim of such bullying threats was to “prevent Americans from learning about Iran, experiencing Iran, and exchanging ideas with anyone from Iran.”

According to the organizers, all the American invitees had informed them that to avoid further intimidation from the American government, they had to cancel their trips to Lebanon and couldn’t take part at the conference.

The sanctions against the New Horizon Organization were set in February 2019 targeting among other individuals, media figure and chairman of the NHC Nader Talebzadeh and his wife. “It is both sad and hilarious,” had written Talebzadeh in his letter of opposition to the US Treasury then, “that such a government with the claim of Democracy and freedom of speech should go for harassment of his own citizens for taking part in a ‘forum for free thought’.”

The sanctions and intimidation against the conference comes despite the fact that the event is sponsored by Custodianship of Holy Shrine of Hazrat Massoumah in city of Qom which is a religious entity and promotes peace and prevention of war through such events aimed at raising awareness among the public across the world. Similarly, the 2018 conference was sponsored by Holy Shrine of Imam Reza in Mashhad, Northeast of Iran.

Michael Maloof had earlier noticed that they had attended the conference for dialogue and by a desire to build diplomatic bridges; “we’re all still US patriots, but we believe there’s another way to go about things than looking at everything in Iran through the prism of Israel.”

MNA/TT

News Code 150261

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