August 3, 2009, - 11:19 am

Let ‘Em Rot: “Hiking” Americans Detained in Iran Are Pro-Syrian, Anti-Israel, Far-Left “Journalist” Activists

By Debbie Schlussel

**** UPDATE, 09/25/11: I Warned You: “Americans” Freed From Iran Are US-Haters, Attack America ****

Longtime readers know my point of view on this:  whether you are American or not, a “journalist” or not, if you go to Iran or North Korea, you knew the likely consequences, you assumed the risk, and I couldn’t care less about you.  I care far more about those held in these totalitarian states against their will, not dumb, left-wing Americans who went there willingly.


Sarah Shourd, Shane Bauer, Josh Fattal:

Left-Wing Activist “Journalists” Detained “Hiking” near Iran

We have enough looming and present foreign and domestic policy problems to worry about.  We don’t need to add people like Laura Ling and Roxana Saberi . . . and now, three “hikers” who are really left-wing, pro-Syrian, anti-Israel “activist” “journalists” from Berkeley–two of whom chose to leave America and live in the Arab Muslim Mid-East.  They knew the risks when they went “hiking” on the Iranian border.  (Hint:  It’s not like vacationing in South Beach, and I don’t think they were really hiking.)  Two of them chose to live in the Middle East.  Tough luck that they got caught.

Oh, and if you think I believe the “they were just hiking” story, think again.  Here’s a little bit of info about these far-left “hikers.”  It seems that an Iranian prison might be a great place for them to spend some time.

*  Sarah Shourd is an anti-Israel “journalist” who lives in the Middle East (probably in Damascus, Syria, from which she’s written some of her articles), writes sympathetic pieces about terrorist-host state Syria, attacking Israel, and taking her Syrian patrons’ false point of view that Israel’s Golan Heights is “occupied territory.”  She also writes about how Israel oppresses the Syrians.  Hilarious.  I mean, no biggie that Bashir Al-Assad cuts his people apart limb by limb, like his father did to journalist Salim Al-Lawzi, that Syria has an atrocious human rights record and tortures dissidents, let’s concentrate on blaming the Jews.  That’s her strategy.

Here’s a tip for Ms. Shourd:  Israel annexed the Golan Heights years ago–you know, when Syria attacked Israel, went to war, and lost.  Shourd lies and claims that Israel forced Syrian inhabitants of the Golan Heights to become Israeli citizens.  Nauseatingly false.  I have many Druze friends with family there.  The Druze Arab inhabitants love the freedom they have as Israelis–of not having to worry if a conversation they have on the street will result in their limbs being amputated without anasthesia.  The formely Syrian Druze of the Golan Heights rue the day when Syria gets it back (as Obama–and before him, Bush–have been pushing).

Shourd describes herself as a “ teacher-activist-writer from California currently based in the Middle East.”  Well, we know for whom she’s an activist and writer–the Iranians-sponsored Syrians and other Islamic terrorists.  I’m just worried about whom she is teaching.

Shane Bauer is a UC Berkeley grad who has written for the far-left The Nation and “reported” for the Terrorist News Network a/k/a Al-Jazeera.  He lives in the Muslim Mid-East, speaks Arabic and his Berkeley degree is in “Peace and Conflict Studies”–typical far-left degree for Jimmy Carter groupies.  He lives and is based in Damascus, Syria–a nation for whom he’s toed the party line.  From his Damascus digs, he’s written articles for left-wing media outlets about how Muslims in Syria love Obama but need to see him change American foreign policy toward Israel and the Islamic world.  Sound like an “innocent hiker” to you?

Joshua Fattal, also a Berkeley grad is an environmental activist who hosted a “resistance” radio show.  Media reports say his father is Iraqi, and he said he was traveling there to get in touch with his roots.

He earned a degree in environmental economics and policy. He also taught high-school students in Berkeley and worked in New Hampshire.

He most recently worked and lived at Aprovecho Research Center in Cottage Grove, Ore. The nonprofit facility is located on a 40-acre ranch and is focused on sustainable living skills, sustainable forestry and organic gardening, its Web site states.

At Aprovecho, Fattal held a position as internship coordinator. He was a graduate of the program himself and traveled to small towns in Oregon and Guatemala to implement some of the sustainable living ideas taught at the center . . . .

While Fattal was at Aprovecho, he co-hosted a weekly radio show, “Rhythms and Resistance,” on the center’s community station.

These are the three “hiking” Americans who “accidentally” strayed into Iran.  Things are not always as they seem.  But, in this case, one thing’s quite clear.  When you hear about Americans vacationing by hiking near Iran, you know something’s up.  And it’s not innocent at all.  These three were not mere “tourists.”

Sad that our government won’t send the right message to these activist, left-wing Americans who take unwarranted risks:  You’re on your own.

I’d say, “Let ’em rot in hell.”  But, right now, they’re rotting in Iran.  Close enough.

(Unfortunately, Iran will soon learn what useful idiots these are and set them free, just like they did with Saberi and just like Islamic terrorists did with their friend, Jill Carroll.)

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309 Responses

@Debbie. So becuase they madea poor judgment call they should rot in hell(Iran)? Who the hell do you think you are? The story I heard is that they were on the border and coaxed over by the gaurds pointing rifiles at the. I wouldn’t move to the Midlle East due to the current situation but I don’t think this punishment fits the crime for crossing the border. I mean, look at all the wetbacks crossing out borders and even though it’s against the law, it’s never enforced. I guess we should give illigelas the treatment here. They should rot in hell too, huh Debbie. C*NT!!!!

Brian on August 21, 2011 at 7:22 pm

I love how Joe Blow and Brian who apparently disagree with Debbie, resort to such horrible hateful name calling with the “C” word. Wow, great expressiveness, and intellect there folks. Seems we see that a lot from the Liberal “Love All” crowds. They love you unless you disagree then the spew hateful venomous speech and words. Makes you wonder what happened to all of their love. Your Mothers would be proud of you. You really lend value to your thought/beliefs/feelings with such explicit language.

highlander on August 23, 2011 at 8:26 am

“I care far more about those held in these totalitarian states against their will, not dumb, left-wing Americans who went there willingly.”

I agree.

I’m also fairly left leaning too. And see how I didn’t have to bring my own personal idealogical beliefs into the conversation, bringing hateful, inflammatory rhetoric to the table and still be completely rational? Wait, rational isn’t going to make you and the Glen Beck’s of the world money, will it?

Yell Debbie!! Kill those liberals with your hate!! Whatever, there’s so much more to life than responding to hate filled rants where your premise is essentially correct but your hate muddies the water to the point where no one wants to swim with you anymore.

John on August 23, 2011 at 3:54 pm

Interesting article, but…:

1. The fact that they have different political views / religious views than other people does not change the fact that they have been imprisoned on FALSE charges.

They are not being held captive for being “left wing”, “pro-Syria”, “anti-israel”. So your whole article is beyond the point. They are being held in prison for ESPIONAGE.

2. The only thing you suggest in your writings is that they be punished for having different ideas than your own and for taking “risks”. Well, yes, they took a risk visiting that border region…but..


Jean on August 25, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    That’s the point…PUNISHMENTS don’t fit the crime in that country for ANYONE. So why place yourself in that position? Now they’ve not only created MORE conflict between our country’s, but who is suppose to put up the million bucks? So now that country gets another million towards destructing us, and whomever put up the million can’t use it beneficially, like providing philanthropitically.
    Ex. Feeding starving children or college scholarships…or health benefits for numorous. Stick by your own and boycott those. C Ountry’s. America has many beautiful places to hike, take pictures and blow bubbles don’t be so smart for your own riches, if you mst, then go to the projects volunteer and em better THIS country. That Berkeley diploma could be used HERE.
    And just to put the cherry on top, pro I g their selfishness, their poor family’s most likely thought this was dangerous and they had no thought for them, now who they running to? Its so niave to believe or use a defence that they are not breaking a law, you can’t breathe there without breaking a law.

    samantha on September 17, 2011 at 9:11 pm

Enlightening…and that’s funny, ‘Iran will soon see how useful they are’. But I wonder, do you think their attitude will change after, well basically their ‘allies’ turned on them, even Jane Fonda (I ‘kinda heard’) admits she did wrong, and she was not even held prisoner… but then again she has to SELL those VIDEOS, sorry I wasted that time…anyway, do you think they gotta realistic taste and change their ways…or, at least I could have some respect, and they “empathize” (lol)

I do hope really they turn to the Bible and have a family who are grateful they learned, and never understood their philosophy, like the demonstraters during Vietnam.
Do you think they’ve changed???

samantha on September 17, 2011 at 10:41 am

Sloop b john by beach boys?so funny JUST came on and had add it ‘ took all my corn, feel so broke up…I WANNA GO HOME, this is the strangest trip I’ve ever been on…ain’t that the truth.

samantha on September 17, 2011 at 10:54 am

Just noticed that you claimed that Fattal’s father is Iraqi. I was close with Josh in high school and his father is Israeli.

Chris R. on September 21, 2011 at 8:14 am

What type of American in their right stable mind would think to go live in the middle east during a time of war? On top of that go hiking near a border that doesn’t want you there? Some stupid left winged berkley grads. I bet their views have changed. Lol. May we should gather some berkley grads this summer for a trip to north korea and see if we can talk to Kim Jong il and have a cup of oolong tea together and talk about peace. Why should I feel sorry for these dumbasses? Because they are American? Ni**a please…… There are people in our country that fight for our rights to maintain freedom that don’t make it back home. I’d say let those guys serve the time because that was the risk they were willing to take. I hope people do not see these dumbasses as heroes when they come back home.

Bob on September 21, 2011 at 11:50 am

To all you liberals out there!
remember that the arabs are responsible for two refugee problems in 1948 when they invaded the fledgling newly established ‘State of Israel’ the parallel problem that nobody want’s to talk about and has become a taboo subject, namely 1,000,000 Jewish refugees from the arab world,they were either kicked out or they fled for their lives leaving behind frozen bank accounts,real-estate five times the size of Israel today, the Jewish communities of the arab-world had lived there in some instances continuously for the past 2,600 years. All of this came to an abrupt end in the late 1940s-50s and continued on till the 1970s. We the Jews of the arab-lands outnumbered the arab refugees of the post-palestine era by two to one, what about justice for us, we lost far more than the arab-refugees. Some of your bloggers have the Chutzpah to state that we the Jews wherever we originated from had no right to Israel, well since the 1830s the Jews outnumbered both the Muslims and the Christians in being the majority in the whole of Jerusalem. If you state that we the jews have no right whatsoever to have israel then by the same token the arabs of palestine don’t have any right’s to that country either, as there never was a palestinian people. When the British ruled under ‘The British Mandate of Palestine’ the word palestinian was preserved only when referring to the Jews of palestine, ie. The Palestine Post, later renamed as The Jerusalem post, The Palestine National Orchestra, etc. to name a few, the arabs only considered themselves as arabs, many of them came for work at that time from as far as Saudi-Arabia, yemen, Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Syria, to name but a few arab countries, if you were an arab and you lived in palestine two years before the proclamation of the state of Israel, you would automatically be considered a Palestinian Arab. Official records show that there was 539,000 arab refugees from post-palestine, 130.000 remained and became israeli citizens, today they number 1.5 million, however in the arab world there only remains around 7,000 Jews out of 1,000,000 that is real ethnic-cleansing at it’s worst. From 1948-67 no jews were allowed to enter jordan to pray at the wall, because jordan although a signatory to the Rhodes armistice agreement in 1949 abrogated on that agreement banning not only Israeli citizens entering Jordan on a safe conduct through to the Westenwall to pray, but also disallowed Jews holding Non-Israeli citizenship from other countries from entering Jordan for the sole purpose of praying at the ‘Wall’ The last wall still standing from the 2nd Temple of Jerusalem which was destroyed by the Romans in 70AD. Therefore think again if Israel will surrender the Old-City of Jerusalem to serve as the capital of a Palestinian state, which would divide Jerusalem for a 2nd time since 1948.
This will never happen be assured of that, and if you don’t like the idea, well you know what you can do, this applies to all Jew-hating vermin aswell as self-‘SELF-HATING-JEWS.’

Samir S. Halabi on September 21, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    My reading of the Bible implies a lot of interbreeding between the tribes in the area anyway. And even if you could prove some kind of racial purity, you should not assume that it makes you superior to your neighbor. So it seems we are left with religion as the major divisive force. If religion is to be a divisive force that causes wars then maybe we should give up religion. Or at least people without strong religious convictions should stop paying for the wars. Let the zealots fight it out on their own.
    I fear what has happened is that men making fortunes selling weapons are using your religious disagreements to foment wars. They don’t even care about the outcome, except for the outcome that they will be richer for having sold both sides the weapons.

    Dave on October 14, 2011 at 2:11 am

Eat your tiny heart out, Debbie. They’re free and heroes now.

Marc Herman on September 21, 2011 at 8:05 pm

Wow, I love the brainwashed Zionist lunatics that are drawn to this site. “Your only a moral person if you support Israel”. Very logical. Very adult. I love it. You people are like brain damaged 2nd graders, full of hyperbole and moral relativism.

What you are really full of of patriotism for a country that isn’t this one. Therefore, your a fifth column. The comments here more than reveal that.

You should all move to Israel. your a security risk here. Go to Israel, Debby, and leave us alone. We’ll take our chances with the Muslims.

Oh, and a big welcome home to the captured Mossad agents mentioned in this article. Have you seen a map lately? Three Jewish kids “hiking” in that part of the world. Spin me another one. One has to weigh probable evidence, and its not with them being hikers. But its typical for Zionists, such as Debbie, to disown Jews who are caught red handed.

Move to Israel Debbie. You don’t belong here.

tyr on September 21, 2011 at 10:29 pm

They must be three really self-hating jews to be on the record for the hatred of Isreal. Of course, the best discourse against Isreal comes from their own people.

bobby bob on September 23, 2011 at 9:02 pm

Debbie Schlussel, huh?

What a great article, “Let’em rot”.

The prisoners were left wing creeps…news to me.
The mainstream media kept me ignorant.
My thought was, “Why no GPS? Who hikes without a GPS? It would show the border. Could they be that stupid?”

I am going to start reading Debbie Schlussel, and see what else I can learn.

Clark Magnuson on September 23, 2011 at 11:42 pm

I have no idea who you are, and I ended up here while searching for something else. I got through one paragraph and cannot believe you have so many comments while being so incredibly uneducated. Do the rest of the internet-junkyard a favor and stop writing, or start reading.

blott on September 25, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    Typical liberal… call everyone that does not agree with your worldview uneducated. I thought the article was well written and spot on. You should stop reading the Puffington Host.

    fred on September 25, 2011 at 11:03 pm

I just don’t get it??? What goes through some American’s pea brains? Of all the places in this world to go hiking, they pick the border of Iraq and Iran! Iran…..hello!!!!! Oh, because I’m an American, even though I don’t agree with my government, I can travel the world with no consequences.
I spent 11 years in the Navy, traveled a majority of the world, and met a number of people; both friendly to the US, and some, not so much. What it all boils down to is this; know your surroundings. There’s alot of other places in this world to go hiking besides the Iranian border! Think next time!!!!!

jack barker on September 25, 2011 at 5:37 pm

Anybody know of some affordable housing that might be available? I’m looking to relocate and I’m open to anywhere with the exception of Earth.

There’s got to be other places where the inhabitants are further along in evolution (and nicer)than those behind this twisted hateful spew that I’ve been reading. Anyway, nothing keeping me here except damn gravitational pull.

Then again perhaps Jesus, the Buddha, Gandhi, MLK, and Mandela would have all reverted to this hateful lizard-brained thinking if they had had access to the internet. Something about digital communication seems to block the ability to be compassionate. I admit that no way am I able to summon up my own compassion after reading this crap, and would prefer to find better planetary accomodation. In any case I’m staying away from Debbie C. Schlussel and the comment section of any website.

I thought the days of being involved in the nastiness of those 3rd grade rank out sessions were long gone. Guess not. Sad, very sad… pathetic actually.

gm on September 25, 2011 at 5:54 pm

Arlene; It appears you are not aware that Abraham(him) is the father of the Muslim Faith as well as the Jewish Faith.
Or is it that this knowledge is conveniently ignored…..
Hmmmm…. I wonder, being the father or Patriarch of both religions certainly does put a different light on this “constant and never ending sibling rivalry” does it not? Perhaps you are not the one to ask.

peter on September 25, 2011 at 9:55 pm

brilliantly said. thank you for saying what the mainstream media is afraid to say. i wish iran had kept those three tools. we have enough of their ilk here.

Paula on September 25, 2011 at 11:34 pm

The point is that indians were nomads and that means that they could not lay claim on any part of america. The Europeans on the other hand build villages, cities and really settled and therefore had property that belonged to them and to nobody else because they did not contribute in any way to the community and their products. It’s that simple, but I guess not to leftist people.

Israel is the litmus test for me. start talking about Israel and when the other starts yelling at you he’s a leftist (or moron (or both)

(Greetings from the Netherlands)

Jan on September 26, 2011 at 2:44 am

Israel was given free pass with the white paper, Churchill and his goons plus Turkey turned a blind eye to after the atrocities of WW2. This was a big mistake(intentionally or otherwise)The Israel pm stands in the UN(morally bankrupt joke) and says” we have been here for 5000 years” so have five other tribes! American and Israeli foreign policy assures that Americans and the Israelite’s can never find peace a viable alternative to war mongering, land grabbing, murder and genocide. The German’s committed the atrocities on the Jewish people not Palestine. Look the Americans are always looking for the angle and Ben gurion’s militant state of mind have been the main reasons (to name just a few)behind the BS we see worldwide. Backpackers me arse (muppets)

Declan on September 26, 2011 at 6:54 am

I love the debate or Israel and who rightfully owns it. They’ve been fighting over the POS for 100s of years. Then after WWI the allied countries chopped it up and divided it out. You can indirectly tie all Middle Eastern conflict back to this “good deed.” I don’t care either way but at least understand your history before blaming the Israelis for all the woes. (Now everyone go wiki that and think you’re an expert)
I don’t think these hikers used good judgment hiking that close to Iran. Their humanitarian effort in Iraq is honorable regardless of their political views. Also being imprisoned for 2 years doesn’t fit the crime.
If you feel that strongly about these Americans not coming home then why don’t all your armchair internet opinions start a petition and protest their return? Oh yeah because you’re lazy and ignorant to the would outside your own home.
I personally would try in the US and help people here instead of the traveling to a war zone. Its dangerous enough in the US that I dont feel the need to up the ante in a 3rd world country. I appauld people that take the risk but I’m guilty like the rest of you in not feeling my sympathy for them with that risk they take. that doesn’t mean I hate them or with them ill will. I guess that comes with maturity.

jman on September 26, 2011 at 10:05 am

Of course they were just hikers out on a sunny afternoon taking a leisure stroll through the Iranian Oops, make that the Iraq countryside.

You has to gimme just a little break. At the very least, they are REAL STUPID hikers. I’d bet there are one or two (dozen) minor details missing from the stories of “just hikers”.

Poor little’ol me. I was just hiking and the bad men messed up my day.

Zero sympathy from me. Get a subscription to HIKERS R US or something similar and see if you can find places less plagued by never-ending war and political upheavel. I’ll bet there are hundreds if not thousands of awe-inspiring places to “hike” all over the Mediterranian Sea area that you haven’t even considered “hiking” in.

Scuuuse me now. I have to go roll my socks.

Warren Hudson on September 26, 2011 at 11:42 am

All of you Israelis speaking hate about others without acknowledging your blatant libelous words are only exemplifying why it is that MOST Americans are simply sick of the world getting a daily dose of what YOUR media smears as our consensus. We don’t care what you do. You are not getting any more money. Fight your wars without us. You have commandeered our military and have exploited the central bank (which was created for the Rothschild family and IMF, only to funnel fiat money into the hands of roughly thirteen families). We know about the Mossad, we know of their crimes against my brothers in the military. You are on thin ice. The truth is that these three hikers support Israel and were not hiking. HASBARA and all of your public relations campaigns are void. Get ready for America to start thinking for ourselves and not the Trilateral commision, AIPAC, CFR, and PNAC. There will be peace if it takes us slapping our ‘alleged’ ally around.

Robert on September 26, 2011 at 6:26 pm

I was hoping they woudl keep their sorry assed butts. people like them do not work. They go from place to place making problems for themselves anbd others. These three are a prime example of educadtion wasted on the radical sh”’heads

Linda on September 26, 2011 at 7:33 pm

p.s. expect these three to blow up something liek Ayres and Dorhn.

Linda on September 26, 2011 at 7:33 pm

I haven’t read many of the posts. I get tired of people justifying stupidity in the name of American freedoms.

Someone needs to tell me ……… who, in their RIGHT mind, chooses Iran as THE destination for supreme hiking? I’d like to have sympathy, empathy, something, for these ‘kids,’ but I don’t think they deserve it.

You respect others’ cultures. You take into account that the Middle East pretty much considers the U.S. as Satan, and you don’t randomly choose a Middle Eastern country as the destination of the year for ………. what? ………… hiking? Give me a MF break!

Too bad. So sad. No sympathy here.

Jerhee on September 26, 2011 at 9:37 pm

These left wing hikers are basically the typical recruits that the CIA looks for. Profile the CIA recruits and these “hikers” are it. Students from top schools. Their left wing point of view is just a cover. These were CIA operatives.

monica on September 27, 2011 at 12:38 am

What a cunt

John on September 27, 2011 at 12:11 pm

The author of this blog is a little strong stating her opinions.
Most of the replies focus on that than the true meaning. What the media presents is not the truth.The “hikers” knew the Iranian laws and ways when they went for a walk. Taxpayer money should not be spent on things of this nature. Most important is that the media is not the friend of the public.

snowy on September 27, 2011 at 10:52 pm

wow, but josh fattal was jewish!

truth on October 1, 2011 at 11:11 pm

I agree wholeheartedly with the poster who mentioned these folks’ political beliefs as a CIA cover. First thought that came to my mind back when this story broke as well.

As for the author, sounds like typical media brainwashing. For one Debbie, Iran is not perpetually war-ridden, or in the midst of political upheavel. Two, it is actually quite easy for Americans to legally enter Iran. The only stipulation is that they use a travel agency with a preplanned itinerary.

If these three were truely radical leftists supporting Iran’s regime they would have been welcome with open arms and given VIP treatment.

Your opinion is simple ,.silly, and speaks volumes of where you get your knowlege of the middle east (Television). Educate yourself, please.

Graham on June 20, 2012 at 11:51 am

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