< HOME  Sunday, August 02, 2009

Hiker Arrested in Iran Writes for The Jewish Week (Updated) Hikers "Linked to CIA" says Iran - Shon Meckfessel "safe" at US Embassy Baghdad

Above: Three of the four stooges were detained - Shane, Sarah and Josh

Original post:

The three people detained by Iran for crossing the Iran-Kurdistan border illegally are Joshua Fattal, Shane Bauer, and Sarah Shourd. Fattal lives in Eugene, Oregon, and the other two Americans are from the Bay area.

KING 5 News (Seattle) has learned that a fourth American who traveled with the group is a Seattle resident. University of Washington PhD student Shon Meckfessel appears to be the one American in the group who was not detained because he was not with the group at the time.

All three of the detained appear to be writers, as is Meckfessel, who authored the book "Suffled How it Gush: A North American Anarchist in the Balkans." In an Amazon review of the book, Meckfessel is described as "a green-haired, banjo-playing anarcho-punk journalist from Sacramento."

Fattal is described as a writer for "The Jewish Week" however, there are only 2 articles on the site authored by Fattal.

Bauer is described as a regular contributor to "New America Media." Shourd is also noted as a contributor to "New America Media."

There is only one article from Shourd at the New America Media site, and 31 from Bauer.

The Iranian state TV report claimed the four Americans were together when they crossed the border, but "only one returned (to Iraq), while the three were arrested."

Shon Meckfessel, the only member of the group not arrested, claimed he did not go on the hike but stayed at their hotel because he was not feeling well.

The discrepancy could not immediately be reconciled.

CNN reports: “My grandson has asked me not to talk to the media,” said Shon's grandmother, Irene Meckfessel of Carmichael, California, before hanging up.

Eugene, Oregon, where Fattal (originally from Philadelphia) lives, is also the home of the black ski-masked anarchists who disrupted the 1999 WTO march in Seattle by using violence and vandalizing storefronts. The ex-mayor of Eugene, Jim Torrey, called it "the anarchist capital of the US".

Two of the hikers were "students in Syria."

Stay tuned.
Update 8/2/09: Hiker's Using Aliases? Or is this a case of misspelled names? How can Fattal suddenly become Steel?

Beshro Ahmed, media adviser for general security in Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region, identified the three as Shane Bower, Sara Short and Joshua Steel.

In another report:
The US nationals identified as Shane Bower, Sara Short and Joshua Steel were reportedly arrested on Friday after crossing into the country via Iraq's northern Kurdish region.

They had "mistakenly" crossed into Iranian territory Friday while hiking in a mountainous area, Kurdish officials from the self-ruled region were reported as saying.

This is while reports clamed Colonel Anwar Haj Omar of the Halabja police force in northern Iraq on Sunday linked the three to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

"These three people were agents working with the CIA and were arrested near the resort town of Ahmed Awaa," Omar was quoted by Ayandeh news as saying.

Another news item states:
The fourth member of the group, who took ill and stayed behind at a hotel, spoke by telephone to the group who told him they were 'being held by soldiers who are not speaking Kurdish or Arabic.

Another report from TEHRAN (FNA)- After three U.S. citizens were reportedly arrested on Friday for crossing illegally into Iranian territory, officials announced on Saturday that Iranian forces have monitored and registered frequent flights by two U.S. drones over Iran-Iraq bordering areas.

Eyewitnesses said that since last night the two U.S. spy planes have been flying over 'Ahmed Awa' area in the Iraqi region of Kurdistan, where the American tourists stayed before crossing into Iran.

Also they said that three U.S. military vehicles also arrived in the region on Saturday morning.

Ahmed named the three as Shane Bower, Sara Short and Joshua Steel, while Shaun Gabriel Maxwell stayed behind in their hotel in the autonomous Kurdish region's second largest city of Sulaimaniyah.

Ahmed said the group had originally been in Syria before going to Turkey and eventually crossing the Turkey-Kurdistan border. They stayed in the regional capital Arbil for one night before moving on to Sulaimaniyah.

The reason for the presence of these American nationals is not known. The western media, in the past few days, extensively propagated that these three U.S. personnel have been kidnapped.

OK - so
"Shon Meckfessel" is now "Shaun Gabriel Maxwell", and "Joshua Fattal" is now "Joshua Steel". Help, I'm confused.

In local news (Oregon):

Joshua Fattal’s mother, Laura Fattal, of Elkins Park, Penn....A Joshua Fattal was the internship coordinator at Aprovecho Research Center (Cottage Grove, OR - south of Eugene - a "sustainable energy non-profit")...One (family member) said Fattal had left Cottage Grove about a month ago and was planning to travel to India....Fattal posted an entry on his Facebook page on July 17...wrote that he was on his way to Damascus and also that he was planning to be in Kurdistan....In Wednesday entries...Fattal wrote that he is “getting in touch with my roots between the tigres and euphrates valleys …” and that “Iraq is on my mind.”

Another report: The Americans range in age from 27 to 36, and two are studying Arabic in Damascus...Joshua Fattal's father is Iraqi...The hikers' detention will chagrin President Obama, who has been courting better diplomatic relations with Iran in recent months. In May, the American journalist Roxanna Saberi was freed...she had been convicted of spying.

Meckfessel was studying Arabic, his grandmother said: “He’s very much interested in people and languages and he’s working on a Ph.D. in linguistics.”

Meckfessel has a blog. He has also written the essay Standing Challenges to Capitalism in the Balkans in the anthology Confronting Capitalism: Dispatches from a Global Movement a book made as an outgrowth of the 1999 Seattle Anti-WTO march. Meckfessel is associated with two NGO's on his blog, Voice of Roma and Balkan Sunflowers that have to do with Gypsies. Shon Meckfessel's Facebook profile is here showing Sarah Shourd and Shane Michael Bauer as "friends."

According to a blog, "earlier reports say that Meckfessel then left his hotel unannounced, leaving luggage behind" - the luggage was taken out of the hotel by Sulaimaniya security forces - it also states that the hotel clerk saw Meckfessel leave at 4:30 p.m. - the other three hikers were detained at 1:30 p.m. the same day.

Shon Meckfessel's family say they have heard from him and he is safe inside the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

Kurdish authorities stated that Meckfessel was picked up by U.S. Embassy officials.

Shane Bauer has written for The Nation and "lives in the Middle East". Bauer has a website, is a "photojournalist" and has shot a movie about Darfur. As of 2006, Bauer is noted as "a fluent speaker of Arabic".

Sarah Shourd is a writer for Matador Pulse and is said to be from "the Bay area." There is a Facebook profile for a Sarah Shourd from California who is a "teacher/writer at Iraqi Students Project Connections." The profile also says Ms. Shourd is "currently based in the Middle East."

Joshua Fattal's Facebook profile is here. His relatives are Holocaust survivors, he wants to teach people about the Holocaust and he can translate from Hebrew into English.

Fattal was also accepted into Write On For Israel, which advocates for Israel through journalism.

The hikers' plight bears some similarity to the case of the two American journalists in North Korea for illegally crossing the border from China, who are currently due to serve 12 years imprisonment but "may become pawns of the high-stakes diplomatic game of a hostile regime bent on achieving nuclear power status."

Ain't that convenient?


Update: August 3rd

Here is a pro-Zionist blog that gives another "slant" on who these people are. It seems no one can get this information straight.


At Sunday, August 02, 2009, Blogger andie531 said...

Below are comments from the original post:

Blogger Musique said...

Shon Meckfessel, the only member of the group not arrested, claimed he did not go on the hike but stayed at their hotel because he was not feeling well.

ummhmm .....
i am wondering why he was sick, oh ... must be from sucking too much blood off the Iraqis?

Or, he is the (ADL/Mossad picked) ringleader:
"Now…you boys wander off & cross the border and I will be making frantic phone calls to the JuuNN, JuuBC, Faux NEWS etc.

After getting caught make sure you guys tell the mullahs that you were looking from the nearest bagel & schmear shops only!"

Sunday, August 02, 2009
Blogger andie531 said...

That sounds about right.

Shon's present home base is in a neighborhood in Seattle about 1 mile from where I am. Mossad is everywhere.

Sunday, August 02, 2009
Blogger Greg Bacon said...

Maybe they were looking for the mythical 'Bagel God.'

This whole thing has false-flag written all over it.

And who's the master of those disasters?

Sunday, August 02, 2009
Blogger Greg Bacon said...

Congratulations to Joel Braverman High School students Aliza Braverman, Joshua Fattal, Rena Nasar, Mariella Reyzis and Ariel Tambor -
Accepted to Write On For Israel (Class of 2010)!

Write On For Israel is an intensive and exciting two-year program that trains a select group of high school students to become advocates for Israel through journalism. It teaches students about Israel, Zionism and the Arab-Israeli conflict and empowers them to become effective advocates through writing, broadcasting and public speaking. Sessions focus on Jewish and Israel history and the facts and myths of the current conflict, as well as confronting press bias and making Israel's case to the media. The seminars are taught by top educators and professional journalists and feature appearances by Israeli officials, IDF officers, college students, PR executives and other top professionals.

For more information, please visit

Sunday, August 02, 2009
Blogger andie531 said...

I saw that when I was looking this up. I am not sure that's the same Joshua Fattal - there is one in a Yeshivah high school and there is one around 27 years old (according to PeopleFinders and other people search sites -

The Fattal in the story is from Philly and lives in Eugene - so I don't think they're the same - the Yeshiva Fattal is in Flatbush. A kid that young wouldn't show up on PeopleFinders.

Fattal seems to be a Syrian-Jewish name, so he might be one of the "students studying in Syria".

I once met a Syrian in Bangkok in the backpackers area (Khao San Road) - some other tourists ran into him and we all got invited to eat with him. He had a gimp shoulder / arm from getting shot and admitted he was hiding out in Bangkok because he had been spying for Israel.

He looked more Arab than Jewish - tall, lanky, big nose, olive complexion (I was born about an hour out of NYC, so I'm a little familiar with those types of Jews - think "Welcome Back Kotter" and "Seinfeld" - mostly Ashkenazi, I guess).

These guys "studying in Syria" might actually be spying on Syria - god knows.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

At Sunday, August 02, 2009, Blogger andie531 said...

You're right, Greg - Fattal is from the Yeshiva http://www.thejewishweek.com/viewArticle/c35_a13790/Fresh_Ink_for_Teens.html

His relatives are also "holocaust survivors"

How in the hell does some wet behind the ears kid get to run an internship program and hike all over the ME?

At Monday, August 03, 2009, Blogger Greg Bacon said...

Next thing you know, we'll be hearing that the hikers had nicknames, like 'Bubba' or 'JimBob and were just some "good ol' boys" who had drank too much Bud and got lost while looking for a fishing hole.

At Monday, August 03, 2009, Blogger Greg Bacon said...

What do you think would of happened to a couple of Iranians that had gotten 'lost' and wandered across the Canadian-USA border?

Greeted with warmth or assault rifle fire?

At Monday, August 03, 2009, Blogger andie531 said...

Next thing you know, we'll be hearing that the hikers had nicknames, like 'Bubba' or 'JimBob

Or maybe Meckfessel, aka Maxwell, is really Maxwell Smart:


At Monday, August 03, 2009, Blogger andie531 said...

I am still confused about Fattal aka Steel - it says the hikers lowest age was 27 - the Fattal who writes for The Jewish Week is younger.

Maybe when the US Embassy picked up Meckfessel aka Maxwell they helped him ditch the extra "phony name" passports.

Meckfessel was not in trouble - as he stayed behind at the hotel - so why leave everyone's luggage there?
Especially if you know someone's coming to take you to the embassy?

At Monday, August 03, 2009, Blogger Greg Bacon said...

They'd better put that luggage in a bomb proof room or just go ahead and detonate it for safety's sake.

At Friday, December 18, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In this era of web 2.0, we easily get nice & updated information for research purposes... I'd definitely appreciate the work of the said blog owner... Thanks!

write term papers-Term Paper Samples

At Tuesday, May 03, 2011, Blogger mkelley said...


At Thursday, July 14, 2011, Blogger James Kimber said...

The above post is awesome I found your blog via Google and it is about my research academic writing strive to maintain the highest level of customer satisfaction.

college admission essay examples are great it is very use full information for students specially for those students who searching for college entry essays.

academic writing services
topics for argumentative essay
argumentative essay topics
argumentative topics
classification essay
topics for college essay
topics for compare and contrast essay
compare and contrast essay
good essay questions
essay on love
Narrative essay format
Personal narrative essay format
cause and effect essay

At Tuesday, October 16, 2012, Blogger city said...

thanks for sharing...

At Wednesday, December 14, 2016, Blogger Mahesh Pandey said...

Thanks for sharing such a great article and it's helpful for everyone. Great Post! budget hotels in accra

At Friday, March 17, 2017, Blogger Minal Kapoor said...

It is really a great place..to spend holidays..
book budget hotel in Nicosia


Post a Comment

<< Home