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Free the Hikers -Iran
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Doug Hus
(Doug.H) - M

Locale: Ontario. Canada
Free the Hikers -Iran on 02/07/2011 17:26:47 MST Print View

May be of interest

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=h#!/FreetheHikers

http://www.youtube.com/FreetheHikers

Doug

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Free the Hikers -Iran on 02/07/2011 23:23:21 MST Print View

Ordinary folks like us will never really know for sure where the truth lies. But methinks Iran has a right to investigate this incursion into its territory -- be it accidental or willful. After all, how many young American backpackers hike for fun in Iraqi Kurdistan, right up to the Iranian border, anyway? And if Iranian backpackers are ever caught inside a sensitive border area here in the US, they can be sure that our law enforcement will be fully investigating as well. Gitmo, perhaps?

EDIT: This thread belongs to Chaff.

Edited by ben2world on 02/08/2011 00:10:10 MST.

Dug Shelby
(Pittsburgh) - F

Locale: Bay Area
Can't agree on 02/08/2011 00:55:05 MST Print View

Iran cannot, with a straight face, be compared with the United States. And to bring Guantanamo Bay into it?

C'mon. Get real Ben.

We try to help and assist where we can, Iran is just the opposite, led by a loony whacked out nutjob.

Rant over. Chaff it.

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Re: Free the Hikers -Iran on 02/08/2011 01:06:02 MST Print View

I hear Kurdistan is beautiful. If I could afford to hike wherever and whenever, I'd put it on my list.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Can't agree on 02/08/2011 10:58:13 MST Print View

All of our opinions are just that -- opinions. But turn the table around -- and think what would our law enforcement have done?

Cesar Valdez
(PrimeZombie) - F

Locale: Scandinavia
Split feelings on 02/08/2011 11:21:15 MST Print View

On one hand, I feel bad for these guys. I think we can all agree that being an American stuck in a jail in Iran is going to be horrid, if not traumatic.

On the other hand... WTF were they thinking?! "Well here we are in Iraq, near the border of Iran. Nah, just leave the maps at home, let's just go wander around!"

I have also heard that Kurdistan is very nice. I have met many Kurds here in Sweden and all of the ones I have met have been some of the nicest people I have ever met. But come on. How in the heck do you OOPS! walk into Iran?

If I won the lotto, I actually might go and check out Kurdistan. But there will be no way that any Iranian troops are going to get me, that's for sure! I'd probably try and put at least 10km between me and Iran, but I am a bit paranoid.

All in all I hope they okay. I personally doubt they are spies, but it's plausable. From what I gather I doubt that Iran has any evidence to prove such a bold claim.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Can't agree on 02/08/2011 11:28:47 MST Print View

We sure as heck wouldn't charge them with espionage and dangle long prison time over their heads. We'd round em' up and deport them home along with the hundreds of thousands of others (298,410 in FY '09) we boot out every year.

Anecdotally, an Iranian in civilian clothing waved them over to him (in a non-threatening manner) and at that point they were siezed. They should be fined and sent home, and that should have happened a year ago. Period.

Evan McCarthy
(evanrussia) - MLife

Locale: Northern Europe
Free the Hikers -Iran on 02/08/2011 11:38:13 MST Print View

I work for the U.S. government and have had some minor involvement with this issue (but my opinion here is my own). I believe the hikers were legitimate hikers out to go to a beautiful spot of the world that the Kurds marketed as safe and sound (heck, Kurdistan has weekly flights to Vienna, a booming hotel business, and other trademarks not normally associated with Iraq as a whole). They were and are tragically caught up as pieces in game Iran is playing that has almost nothing to do with their actual infraction (accidently crossing an international border without formal permission). I feel terribly bad for them and their families and hope they can all go home soon. But I don't have much faith in the Iranians since the hikers are being held as trade pieces and want something in return.

Edited by evanrussia on 02/08/2011 11:54:08 MST.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Free the Hikers -Iran on 02/08/2011 11:50:46 MST Print View

Thanks for your insights, Evan.

A friend's mother died in Iran a few years ago while on a birding-archaeological tour. Aside from the challenges of getting hospital care while she was still alive (a long, tortured tale in itself) my friend had to work through the Swiss Embassy to arrange shipping her body home to California. Every. Step. Was. Torture. And it took a good long while. Just what a grieving family needs.

If they'll hold a corpse "hostage"...

Christopher Taggart
(PennDude)

Locale: Western PA
Re: Re: Can't agree on 02/08/2011 12:22:31 MST Print View

Our LE would have done nothing. We already have millions of illegal immigrants here and what do we do about it?

. .
(biointegra) - MLife

Locale: Puget Sound
Re: Free the Hikers -Iran on 02/08/2011 12:32:32 MST Print View

Prayers for the hikers are appropriate.

The border is rather ambiguous and the Kurds roam more or less freely between 4 different countries in that area. I have hiked in the vicinity multiple times and plan to again. I would be less concerned about them if they were in separatist hands, but Iran has a less than pleasant track record of western prisoner hospitality.

This photo was taken very close to the border. There is not much around and it is mostly herd-lands:
Iran border

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: Re: Can't agree on 02/08/2011 12:34:50 MST Print View

"Our LE would have done nothing. We already have millions of illegal immigrants here and what do we do about it?"

Ah, finally. Now we're only missing abortion and guns.

Christopher Taggart
(PennDude)

Locale: Western PA
Re: Re: Re: Re: Can't agree on 02/08/2011 12:58:42 MST Print View

I'm not saying whether or not I agree with our stance on illegal immigration, I'm just stating that US LE would have done nothing in regards to foreign hikers straying across the border. I don't even see how that point can be argued.

. .
(biointegra) - MLife

Locale: Puget Sound
Re: Re: Re: Re: Can't agree on 02/08/2011 13:18:21 MST Print View

Ah, finally. Now we're only missing abortion and guns.

Don't forget global warming, Doug.
What would we do without Chaff?

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Can't agree on 02/08/2011 13:34:18 MST Print View

""Our LE would have done nothing. We already have millions of illegal immigrants here and what do we do about it?""

My memory is vague, but didn't we nab two (or more) "terrorists" crossing in from Canada just a few years ago? And how many souls have we been keeping in Gitmo for sundry reasons -- or mere suspicion?

I have no reason at all to think the backpackers are spies -- but they really did put themselves into a tight corner, so all I am saying is that Iran has every right to sort this out in accordance with their laws. As for the YouTube link -- the one word that comes to mind is "unhelpful".

EDIT: Oops, I meant Facebook -- not YouTube.

Edited by ben2world on 02/08/2011 15:32:08 MST.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Can't agree on 02/08/2011 13:39:06 MST Print View

Yes. With a bomb. To be used for...bombing.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/news/nation-world/terroristwithin/chapter12.html

Doug Hus
(Doug.H) - M

Locale: Ontario. Canada
Wow on 02/08/2011 14:23:46 MST Print View

Wow, these hikers are stuck in a place that may well be hell on earth.

I can only imagine the nightmare they are living.

Try not to second guess it, just try to help.



Doug

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
Ambiguous borders on 02/08/2011 15:20:15 MST Print View

Aaron's quote: "The border is rather ambiguous..."--very well put.

Just a heads up for anyone here that is considering trekking in the Middle East--nearly all of those countries adhere to a "borders undefined" policy. This means that the bedu can freely graze their herds and be, well, nomads. It's the collective culture. It also means that a neighboring country might brazenly try to drill an oil well on another's turf. And it certainly means that you should not be anywhere within 10-15 miles of where you guess the actual border to be. I doubt that the locals would bat an eye if a police force from a neighboring country would cross onto their turf to apphehend a criminal suspect.

I too hope for a timely release of those hikers, and I pray that they are in good health.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Can't agree on 02/08/2011 15:35:39 MST Print View

"Yes. With a bomb. To be used for...bombing."

Yup. A refutation of the above that our LE 'does nothing'. It's not perfect, but our LE is doing its job. Let the Iranian LE do theirs (not that we have that much of a choice given where those hikers put themselves in). Of course we want those hikers to be innocent and we want them back ASAP but trashing the Iranians is unhelpful (not referring to us, but to some of the Facebook comments that Doug linked above).

Edited by ben2world on 02/08/2011 15:41:46 MST.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Can't agree on 02/08/2011 17:30:41 MST Print View

"Iran cannot, with a straight face, be compared with the United States. And to bring Guantanamo Bay into it?"

Yeah, some Iranians would be downright insulted. All depends on your perspective. ;-]

"C'mon. Get real Ben."

He is getting real. That border has long been used to infiltrate anti Iranian Kurdish guerillas and US SOC teams into Iran, just as it was used to infiltrate anti Iraqi guerillas and US arms into Iraq, back in the 60's when Iran was a US ally and we weren't getting along so well with the Iraqis. The Iranians are understandably twitchy these days about US intentions, and students are not always "students" in that part of the world. Rantidote over.