In July 2009, Shourd, Fattal, and Bauer were hiking in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish area along the border with Iran when they were arrested by Iranian police. Shourd said they accidentally strayed across the border. Iranian authorities say the three crossed into Iran illegally.
Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer, the “hikers,” who were convicted in an Iranian court last week of spying and illegal entry, now face 8 years of hard time in a rape and torture prison. In July 2009, Shourd, Fattal, and Bauer were hiking in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish area along the border with Iran when they were arrested by Iranian police. Shourd said they accidentally strayed across the border. Iranian authorities say the three deliberately crossed into Iran illegally. The terrain is very difficult with incredibly steep climbs that hikers do not traverse. They passed through the territory where tourists do go and ended up in a village in Iran.
They have been abused and assaulted in Evin Prison, their friend Sarah Shourd said in a BBC interview in June. Evin is noted for its harsh conditions and its wing for political prisoners.
Sara Shourd, a third companion who was captured with them was released on medical grounds for a breast lump that does not seem to have a medical problem.
The fourth hiker, Shon Meckfessel,stayed back in the motel that day because he was ill. He said he was the one who notified the Embassy when the Iranians picked up his friends. Shon also says he and his friends have spent their lives fighting injustice, that injustice would involve anti-Israel, anti-Jewish, pro-Palestinian activism, despite the fact they are Jews themselves.
Haaretz reports –
If Sarah Shourd, 31, could have, she would have set sail on the recent flotilla to Gaza. Same for her boyfriend Shane Bauer, 28 and their friend Josh Fattal, 28. And they would probably be out there right now, demonstrating against Israel’s reaction, the blockade in general, and well, Israel in general.
That’s the kind of thing they believe in. Those are the sorts of activities they do. “These are like three Rachel Corries,” says their friend Shon Meckfessel, comparing them to the activist killed in Gaza who has become something of a symbol of the pro-Palestinian movement, “…we have spent out whole adult lives contesting injustices in the Middle East.”
The three are far left zealots from California who have written extensive anti-israel and anti-American propaganda. Their friend Shon worries the U.S. government is not working on their behalf because of their writings and activism, which is in direct opposition to the interests of Israel and the U.S. Ironically, the flotilla they would have sailed on was an Iranian propaganda machine. It’s not likely they were spying on Iran, but they do not have a logical story.
Also from Haaretz is his friends report that he was going to write about injustices by the U.S. and Israelis against Iranians –
Just weeks before the three were taken captive, for example, he says, they were in Israel to visit another friend, Tristan Anderson, who was hospitalized for a year after being shot with a teargas canister in the head – by the IDF – while taking photos during a demonstration against the wall in Ni’lin.
“Often, when checking the Iranian press to see if there is any news about my friends I have seen coverage of Tristan’s situation, which is, of course, very sympathetic…They keep calling him a hero for standing up to Israeli and U.S. aggressions,” says Meckfessel. “The irony is they are celebrating Tristan as a hero, but holding his like-minded friends as spies.”
At the time he was abducted, Bauer, a freelance journalist, was almost finished with an expose article on the IDF’s use of purportedly non-lethal weapons against protesters like Anderson. “He would have published it long ago if he had not been arrested…You would say the Iranians are standing in the way,” says Meckfessel. “How ironic is that?”
Sara Shourd is an anti-Israeli journalist living in the ME, possibly Syria. While living in a country with a vicious terrorist, Al-Assad, she pens articles demonizing Jews, claiming they oppress the Syrians in the Golan Heights,which they annexed years ago. Syrians living in the Golan Heights enjoy the freedom they now have under israel as opposed to the truly oppressed in Syrian and the dictator she seems to admire. One of Sara Shourd’s anti-Israel, pro-Syrian articles can be found here.
From Maggie’s Notebook: -In November 2008, Sarah, writing for Matador News, said everyday she is “ashamed” of America for the war fought in Iraq. She is an obvious Palestinian sympathizer. I could take her viewpoints seriously had she pointed out in her columns that there is no Palestinian state because the Palestinian Authority, Fatah and Hamas refuse to recognize Israel’s existence in their governing documents. It’s the issue no one wants to acknowledge, and it seems young Americas are dimmer than the issue than most.
Shane Bauer, Berkeley graduated, writes for the far left magazine, The Nation, and for Al Jazeera, on the crimes of Israel. He also is based in Syria and writes about his love of Obama, but hopes he will change his policies towards Israel and adopt a pro-ME policy. His website can be found here and at least one far left article is included.
Josh Fattal, Berkeley grad and activist, hosted a “resistance” radio show. He writes for New American Media and Matador Pulse. Fattal who was dedicated to sustainable farming in Oregon for three years was in Syria as a teaching assistant.
In this article, the hotel manager they last came across says they didn’t even shower. He said he tried to dissuade them from crossing so close to Iran. A taxi driver advised them as well. They were determined for “some” reason.
Whether they were hiking in a region not meant for hiking, or spying, or planning to write anti-American articles based on what they found in Iran is unknown. Why isn’t their beloved Syria coming to their aide? They are now learning a hard lesson. As Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer are tortured in the worst of prisons, Sara Shourd will spend the next 8 years fighting for their release.
Do they deserve what they got? Ironic, isn’t it?