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What Kind of Idiots Go Hiking Near the Iranian Border?

 
 
Reply Wed 28 Sep, 2011 08:16 am
I admit that for a while there I thought it was entirely credible that the three young American hikers who were arrested and imprisoned by Iran over two years ago, were actually CIA agents as alleged by their captors.

During an airing of one of the earlier TV news stories on the plight of the hikers, my daughter turned to me and sarcastically asked "What kind of idiots go hiking near the Iranian border?"

"The CIA kind." I replied

We've become used to less than friendly nations alleging that every American found in their country, from Catholic nuns to...three young hikers are CIA agents. It's a cliché that often times seem blatantly manufactured.

US Embassy "liaisons" who turn on their attackers in a dark ally in Islamabad, and shoot them both squarely between the eyes are believable CIA "spies," but nuns and hikers?

Yet there is no doubt that there are agents of the CIA in these countries and some of them are US nationals. I suspect that the identities of many of the US national spies are common knowledge in foreign lands. A bad-assed dude who looks like Jason Stratham shows up at a US embassy function and the CIA Spy sign on his chest appears quite bright.

Obviously the CIA needs truly clandestine agents and while most of them are probably locals, I have to believe some are US nationals and a nun or a flaky hiker is not horrible cover.

So yes, I thought it was possible that Bauer, his girlfriend and his friend might possibly be CIA agents. Having them cross the border on foot seemed like a risky and even stupid means of "insertion," but since when is the CIA as perfect as its critics claim?

Now they've been released and we have the following story.

I suppose Agent Shane Bauer can simply be trying to keep his cover intact so that he remains plausibly available when the need for his alter ego, Agent Jack Bauer arises, but that's stretching it way too far.

What kind of idiots go hiking near the Iranian border?

The social-justice activist kind.


Quote:
What American 'Political Prisoners'?
An American hiker channels Noam Chomsky after two years in Iranian By
JAMES KIRCHICK


Imagine you are Shane Bauer, one of two American hikers released from Iranian captivity last week.

On July 31, 2009, you're traversing a mountain trail in Iraqi Kurdistan, near the Iranian border. You're with one of your best friends and your girlfriend. Suddenly a group of Iranian border guards capture you, and the next thing you know you're in Tehran's infamous Evin prison accused of "illegal entry" and "espionage."

Your girlfriend is kept in solitary confinement and you can see her only for an hour each day. The Iranian government prevents you from contacting your family for almost a year, at which point they decide to let your mother visit you for two days at a Tehran hotel.

While your captors treat you humanely and provide three square meals a day, your Iranian co-prisoners aren't so lucky. Every night you hear their screams. Evin is the world's most notorious torture dungeon, where political dissidents (men and women) are routinely raped, beaten and subjected to all manner of physical and psychological abuse.

Ahmad Batebi, a student activist who spent 17 months in solitary confinement there, reports that guards kicked him in the teeth, dunked his head into a toilet "stopped up with feces," and whipped his back and testicles with a cable. When he tried to sleep, they slashed his arms with a knife and rubbed salt in the wounds.

As you sit in this hellhole, no less than the president of the United States takes up your cause, insisting that you "never worked for the United States government," that you're "simply open-minded and adventurous" and "represent the best of America and of the human spirit."

Following two years of strenuous work on the part of committed American diplomats, you are freed on $500,000 bail, paid by the billionaire Sultan of Oman. And what is the first thing you say upon your release?

"Two years in prison is too long and we sincerely hope for the freedom of other political prisoners and other unjustly imprisoned people in America and Iran."

Mr. Bauer didn't name any of the "political prisoners" allegedly held in America's jails—because there aren't any. So is this a case of Stockholm Syndrome? Perhaps, but Mr. Bauer likely came to his views while earning a degree in "Peace and Conflict Studies" at Berkeley, if not before. On a website calling for his release, a friend attests to his "strong critic[ism] of the US-led brutal war on Iraq and Israel's ongoing violence against the Palestinian people."

On Sunday, Mr. Bauer said that he opposes "U.S. policies toward Iran which perpetuate this hostility"—as if American belligerence, and not Iranian tyranny and terror, causes tension between the countries. Though he criticized Tehran's "brutality," he gave credence to his captors' grievances when he said that "every time we complained about our conditions, the guards would immediately remind us of comparable conditions at Guantanamo"—as if the claims of a government that denies the Holocaust have any validity.

While neglecting to thank either President Obama or Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for helping secure his freedom, Mr. Bauer expressed gratitude toward Hugo Chávez, Sean Penn, Noam Chomsky and Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens).

Last year Mr. Chomsky wrote an "appeal to the Iranian leadership" on behalf of the captive hikers: "These young people represent a segment of the U.S. population that is critical of [U.S.] policies, and often actively opposed to them. Hence their detention is particularly distressing to all of us who are dedicated to shifting U.S. policy to one of mutual respect rather than domination." In other words, it would have been different had Iran kidnapped three Republican state-school football players on summer vacation, as opposed to a trio of "social justice" activists committed to exposing the sins of America.

A website calling for Mr. Bauer's release asked, "Why is Iran holding anti-war activists?" The answer eludes Mr. Bauer and his ilk for the same reason that they believe a moral equivalence exists between the Islamic Republic and America: Tehran does not care for international norms of behavior. A student of the Middle East, Mr. Bauer should know that his ordeal at the hands of the Iranian government is but an echo of the crime that inaugurated the Islamic Republic itself—the 1979 seizure of the American Embassy in Tehran and the holding of our diplomats hostage for 444 days.

The American justice system is far from perfect. But it is transparent, offers the right of appeal, and is routinely challenged by a free press and active civil society. Moreover, it doesn't imprison people for their political beliefs.

One would think that two years in Evin prison would instill this basic knowledge in Shane Bauer, whose mind, if not his body, is still being held hostage.

Mr. Kirchick is a contributing editor to the New Republic

 
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Sep, 2011 09:53 am
@Finn dAbuzz,
Mosad idiots.
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Sep, 2011 10:10 am
@Fido,
Smile

But I don't think Noam would go to bat for the Mosad.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  4  
Reply Wed 28 Sep, 2011 12:54 pm
They should be thankful they weren't hiking near Guantanamo. They'd never be released.
roger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Sep, 2011 01:05 pm
@joefromchicago,
What kind of idiots would go hiking in Cuba?
roger
 
  3  
Reply Wed 28 Sep, 2011 01:06 pm
@roger,
Other than Cubans, of course, and most of them are more interested in swimming than hiking.
0 Replies
 
Green Witch
 
  4  
Reply Wed 28 Sep, 2011 01:08 pm
What I found interesting was all the Iranians posting on social networks saying it was sad that these hikers never got to experience the fact that Iran has a beautiful, ancient history and the Iranian people are not all crazy, fundamentalist, paranoid bureaucrats. Instead the Iranian government chose to display the worst of themselves with their nasty treatment of these (granted kinda stupid) innocent young people. Maybe the next generation in both countries can make a difference.
Questioner
 
  2  
Reply Wed 28 Sep, 2011 01:25 pm
I've given this quite a bit of thought lately what with all the news stories floating around. I reached a similar conclusion in that they are either 1) Some type of government spy agency representatives or 2) Really, really, really stupid people.

The fact that Oman dropped 1.5mil to bail them out suggests the former to me. Despite what Americans believe, the government isn't actually out to protect us.

And either way, if your sense of self-preservation is so borked that you'd fall under either category, a two year sentence in an Iranian gulag should be mandatory.
Green Witch
 
  2  
Reply Wed 28 Sep, 2011 01:31 pm
@Questioner,
Quote:
The fact that Oman dropped 1.5mil to bail them out suggests the former to me. Despite what Americans believe, the government isn't actually out to protect us.


The US government has a history of spending money to rescue idiot Americans. If these young people were part of a CIA spy plan we are in worse shape than anyone has imagined. I think you have to file their actions under "stupid".
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Sep, 2011 01:51 pm
@Green Witch,
Right. Maybe they should wander back in and check out all the cultural stuff.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Sep, 2011 01:53 pm
@roger,
Yeah, but they should go at night this time . . .
Green Witch
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Sep, 2011 02:05 pm
@roger,
I thought it interesting that the young Iranians making these comments know their government is nuts and that they totally F'd up a great PR opportunity. It gave me hope that in another generation Iran might not be so crazy.
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Sep, 2011 02:45 pm
@Green Witch,
Green Witch wrote:

What I found interesting was all the Iranians posting on social networks saying it was sad that these hikers never got to experience the fact that Iran has a beautiful, ancient history and the Iranian people are not all crazy, fundamentalist, paranoid bureaucrats. Instead the Iranian government chose to display the worst of themselves with their nasty treatment of these (granted kinda stupid) innocent young people. Maybe the next generation in both countries can make a difference.



There's a lot that is sad about Iran

It's sad is that so many Iranians who feel the way you describe live in a country where the crazy fundamentalists are the ones who get to determine what these three Americans and much of the rest of the world sees and thinks about their homeland.

Sadder still that the government is not limited to paranoid bureaucrats but is filled with vicious butchers who have no qualms about brutalizing and killing their own people.

And it's sad that the Iranian Green Revolution which came before the so-called Arab Spring produced as much or more suffering by innocents with virtually no gains for the people.

I have to wonder if the Iranians hadn't been first out of the blocks, if their revolution would have been more successful and if Obama wouldn't have found or been forced to find the will to speak out for them.
JTT
 
  -1  
Reply Wed 28 Sep, 2011 03:11 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
Quote:
A website calling for Mr. Bauer's release asked, "Why is Iran holding anti-war activists?" The answer eludes Mr. Bauer and his ilk for the same reason that they believe a moral equivalence exists between the Islamic Republic and America: Tehran does not care for international norms of behavior.


Now that's really rich, isn't it? What the **** is wrong with you people? When this type of drivel comes out, which is often, you all just lap it up and continue on your merry way. There is no country in the world that cares less for international norms than the US.

Iran hasn't murdered on the order of 6 million innocents from innumerable countries around the globe.

Are we assume that an "international norm of behavior" is to overthrow the democratic elected government of a country, IRAN, and install a puppet in order to help the US steal Iran's wealth?

When did piracy become an international norm? Again, what the **** is wrong with you people?

Quote:
A student of the Middle East, Mr. Bauer should know that his ordeal at the hands of the Iranian government is but an echo of the crime that inaugurated the Islamic Republic itself—the 1979 seizure of the American Embassy in Tehran and the holding of our diplomats hostage for 444 days.


It stands as testament to the stupidity of Finn and some others that this type of tripe is continually spewed.

Consider the echoes of the numerous crimes that inaugurated the country that is called the US.

How many years were the Iranian people held hostage by the US and its brutal dictator, the Shah?

Jesus, give your head a shake, fer christ's sakes!

0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  2  
Reply Wed 28 Sep, 2011 03:32 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
Quote:
Mr. Bauer didn't name any of the "political prisoners" allegedly held in America's jails—because there aren't any.


What a lying asshole!

The Cuban Five.

The [how many] in Guantanamo.

The [how many] held in illegal prisons around the world.

0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Sep, 2011 03:40 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
I can name 3 right off the bat:

bam5460
Leonabanks
Jgoldman
Green Witch
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Sep, 2011 03:48 pm
@Linkat,
hee hee, but I bet that would end like O. Henry's short story The Ransom of Red Chef.
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Sep, 2011 04:13 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
You mouth all this bullshit, Finn, without the immense sense of shame that you should actually feel if you were a human being.

Quote:
Sadder still that the government is not limited to paranoid bureaucrats but is filled with vicious butchers who have no qualms about brutalizing and killing their own people.


Why do you even bring this up when the US supports "vicious butchers who have no qualms about brutalizing and killing their own people"?

Really, that's not a rhetorical question.

I wonder why none of the other hypocrites are telling Finn what an incredible hypocrite he is.

Lustig Andrei
 
  2  
Reply Wed 28 Sep, 2011 07:10 pm
@JTT,
JTT wrote:
I wonder why none of the other hypocrites are telling Finn what an incredible hypocrite he is.


Maybe because hypocrites don't do that?

Sow down, JTT, and consider what you've written before you hit "reply." Your near-hysterical anger is overwhelming your usually fine sense of rhetoric.


JTT
 
  2  
Reply Wed 28 Sep, 2011 07:57 pm
@Lustig Andrei,
Quote:
Maybe because hypocrites don't do that?


Good point, Merry.
0 Replies
 
 

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