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Jul. 26 2010 - 6:23 pm | 315 views | 1 recommendation | 14 comments

Iran Has Detained Three Americans for a Year

On July 31st of 2009, three American activists were detained near the Iran/Iraq border by Iranian forces while on a hiking trip through Iraqi Kurdistan. Iran claims to have picked the three Berkley grads on its own side of the border, while The Nation – not in the habit of intentionally whipping up anti-Iranian fervor, and holding an impressive track record of accuracy for an American magazine of political commentary – now reports that witnesses from a nearby village claim to have seen the three hikers being arrested on the Iraqi side of the border.

Regardless of whether or not the Iranians crossed into Iraq or whether the hikers mistakenly crossed a mile or two into Iran somewhere along the poorly-marked border, the Iranian regime has quite clearly been using these three detainees as chips in its high-stakes poker game with the U.S. and other of its international adversaries. The hikers are being accused of espionage, presumably on behalf of the CIA or NSA; and although both the U.S. and Israel are known to engage in espionage against Iran, the details of this particular case would not seem to indicate that these particular graduates of a distinctly anti-CIA educational institution were working on behalf of the perceived imperialistic interests of the U.S., Israel, or both. Detainee Sarah Shroud taught Iraqi refugees in Damascus and otherwise spent her time advocating on behalf of the reasonable aspirations of various oppressed Arab groups; one article she wrote for a left-leaning online media outlet – entitled “Families Shout Their Love Across Minefields in Golan Heights” – is particularly non-indicative of someone in the planning stages of some daring espionage action in service to the U.S. intelligence community. Another of the hikers is an acquaintance of one of my top associates with Project PM, who summed up his experiences with the fellow to me thusly: “If he was under cover, it was a damned good cover.”

What we have here, then, is a case of three American activists who are not only clearly innocent of espionage, but who have actually done more than their part to improve relations between the U.S. and the Muslim world during a low point in that volatile relationship. These are the three individuals whom the Iranian regime have chosen to use as pawns in an attempt to score public relations points against the U.S., among other things; that the Iranian government has proposed a prisoner swap indicates that its more ambitious goal is to buy back its own operatives with the espionage equivalent of counterfeit currency.

It is all well and good to know of some injustice perpetrated by a far-away theocracy, but in order to provide these three noble young people with a better chance at eventual liberty, it is necessary to bring further attention to this ongoing incident so that those of our own representatives with the means to act  will be compelled to do so. This Friday – the first anniversary of the hikers’ detention by Iranian forces – friends and family of the three Americans will be holding a rally in New York in an effort to prompt firmer action on behalf of Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd, and Josh Fattal, who have languished in an Iranian prison for a year and who will continue to do so until such time as the Obama Administration steps up to the plate and does everything in its power to secure the liberty of three American citizens who’ve found themselves abducted by a theocratic and criminal regime.


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  1. collapse expand

    Oooo, a theocracy.

    That’s the the worst part.

    • collapse expand

      Admit it, baby, the only real complaint you have with Iranian theocratic rule is they take their marching orders from the wrong magic book.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        Actually, Sweetcheeks, I’m something you’ll never be–liberal and tolerant. All religion is fine with me, with lines drawn at baby sacrifice, etc.

        Unlike our jerk-ass representatives (in America), I believe in representative democracy of the type proposed by our founders, save for the parts about not letting women and blacks own property or vote–stuff like that. (Our founders, in fact, weren’t even as populist in their views as Rush Limbaugh is today, but few people were in the 18th and early 19th centuries.) That is, I’m not pro-theocracy. By suggesting as much, you’re either yanking my chain or else did something rash at some point in your life to the reasoning portion of your noggin. Now, as much as I enjoy being treated like a Fox News junkie by members of your set, let me point out the obvious. Namely, that the faith-sliming trend isn’t going to last forever–I wouldn’t be surprised, in fact, if some new tribal-denunciation ritual is emerging in our pop culture as we speak. Stop wasting your time with me and go hunt out the next trend–give yourself ample time to suck up with the right people, polish your resume, practice your lines. Arrive late, and you might not even get on board. Think about it. Think what you may be throwing away.

        I’m only trying to help.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
        • collapse expand

          “I’m something you’ll never be–liberal and tolerant.”

          I used to be liberal and tolerant, but then I discovered Satan, may his Dark Majesty reign forever. Now I’m free to be the filthy, cannibal, masturbating ape I was evolved to be. I spend my days jerking off furiously (get it? furious-ly) to internet porn (interracial BDSM, of course), in between reading screeds on biology and engineering, and posting here at T/S, of course. And fighting the eternal battle against xian obscurantism and apologetics. And eating their children. Seriously. I love them rubbed with sofrito and spit-roasted over a mesquite fire.

          Did I mention the jerking off?

          In response to another comment. See in context »
          • collapse expand

            You have maturity issues.

            Some background: despite my 99 ASVAB score, my eight years in the Navy were enlisted. I went to a blue-collar High School (52 percent African American, 38 percent white), where my grades (high in grade school) tanked because of bad vision and because of all the yelling, screaming, and death threats at home. My alcoholic Dad took his life on the day that my ship was stranded by an incoming typhoon (which never hit, thankfully) in a Japanese port. My Mom, bombed out of her gourd, cussed me out when I came to the States for the funeral (not during it, luckily). My next-to-last apartment, when I was working in the big city, was a site for drug-dealing, 24/7 loud music and fights, and (two weeks after I moved out) a murder.

            In other words, like all Bible-thumping pansies, I don’t have a day’s real-life experience. Consequently, I piss my pants when anonymous posters channel Alice Cooper. Never mind that Cooper, even more so than Rush Limbaugh, is a total put-on.

            In response to another comment. See in context »
    • collapse expand

      Actually, yes, I would say that the worst aspect of the Iranian regime is its theocratic underpinnings.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
    • collapse expand

      Pardon me, Savio, but you strike me as someone who’s not stupid. Then why the fuck do you cling to this goddamn religion thing? What’s the matter with you?

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  2. collapse expand

    “Some background:”

    I must apologize profusely. While in the depths of channeling Marilyn Manson (get yur pop icons straight), I was under the assumption that you posted on every blog simply to inform the benighted of the ongoing horror that is the persecution of modern American Protestantism (note the caps!). Obviously this constituted a misconstrual on my part. It’s obvious to me now, in light of the pain and suffering of your upbringing, that you sir, are a modern-day James the Just. You sir, are a Christ-like beacon of light and hope in a world gone mad and wallowing in darkness.

    I salute you sir.

    P.S. Did I mention the jerking off?

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    I'm the author of Flock of Dodos: Behind Modern Creationism, Intelligent Design, and the Easter Bunny; my second book, Hot, Fat & Clouded: The Amazing and Amusing Failures of America’s Chattering Class (Being a Partial Record of the Incompetence of Our Republic's Mainstream Pundits, Most of Whom Deserve to be Exiled or at Least Have Their Cars Vandalized), will be released in 2010. I'm a contributor to Vanity Fair, The Huffington Post, Skeptic, and The Onion, and my work has appeared in dozens of other publications and outlets. I also serve as director of communications for Enlighten the Vote, a political action committee dedicated to the advancement of the Establishment Clause.

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