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How The Hell Do You Wander Across An Axis Of Evil Border?

X Marks The Spot

American journalist Laura Ling and fellow reporter Euna Lee, held captive in North Korea for illegally entering that country from China, are finally home.  Both reporters were working on a story about the trafficking of women in North Korea for former Vice President Al Gore’s San Francisco based Current TV when they were arrested back in March.  They were both sentenced to twelve years of hard labor.  Their release was the result of a successful unofficial diplomatic foray from former President Bill Clinton with the blessings of the White House.  Mr. Clinton’s diplomatic mission comes during a period of heightened tensions over North Korea’s nuclear program.  Former Vice President thanked the State Department for its help in winning their release.

Meanwhile, at another location on our globe, Iran confirmed the arrest of three American hikers who crossed into that country from neighboring Iraq and said they have been charged with “illegal entry,” a semi-official news agency reported.  Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Joshua Fattal were arrested in the western Iranian city of Marivan.  Swiss diplomats in Iran and United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Iran to provide information on the hikers.  These three are supposed to be seasoned hikers who we are supposed to believe just happened to have wandered across an unmarked border with Iran when they were detained.

Now maybe it’s just me, like most humans I have a history of forming an opinion without the need to wait for every single detailed fact to be discovered before forming an opinion, but how the hell do you get on a plane, travel halfway around the world to a country that borders a country once considered an axis of evil, then take some local form of transportation to the fore mentioned border, put on a backpack, and then start wandering around aimlessly without the slightest clue that they might be heading into dangerous territory?  Maybe it’s just me, but these two episodes of wandering Americans in supposedly hostile countries sound the fishiest of fishy.

Does anybody really have to wonder what would happen if an undocumented North Korean or an Iranian was found aimlessly wandering around in Phoenix, Arizona or San Antonio, Texas?  I wonder if anyone would buy their story that they were simply took a hiking trip during their tourist visit to Juarez, Mexico.  More than likely nobody here would share a tear if such a visitor to our country would wind up in high security, protect the country from terrorist, Guantanamo Bay like accommodations.  We don’t even want the people in Mexico, a friendly state, coming across our borders, let alone the citizen from a hostile state.

So don’t the goods for the goose apply to the gander?  If we want to prosecute people who illegally come into our country, aren’t other countries entitled to prosecute Americans who illegally come into theirs?  And if an American is there to do a story on how screwed up other cultures are, all the more reason to stop their shit cold.

But one thing I do know for sure is that within days after their arrest, all of the American infiltrators listed here, Laura Ling, Euna Lee, Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Joshua Fattal, were given an opportunity to contact their families and get help.  Imagine that from an axis of evil!  There were stories from Guantanamo Bay that the lawyers assigned to represent some of the accused terrorist had to fight tooth and nail to get access to their clients.  And some of those people that were condemned to rot in the detention at Camp X-Ray in downtown Guantanamo had just become teenagers.  Imagine what would have happened if Iran or North Korea had sentenced a young American teenager to one of their detention facilities.

A lot of people who work in our government on behalf of the American people look for every loophole not to give people accused of being here illegally the representation they need to have a day in court or to simply go back home.  If not already, our national paranoia is becoming legendary.  But our national hypocrisy is even greater.

Ms. Ling and Ms. Lee stayed in the news and our government officials and unofficials pulled out all the stops to help bring these two home.  Ms. Clinton and the State Department are undoubtedly pulling out similar stops to earn the release of the three hikers being held in Iran.  We’ll work to bring these people home and then put them in front of cameras and hail them as American heroes for their foray into enemy territory.  I’m sure the people we hold here in America for similar transgressions against our country would appreciate being treated like Americans being held elsewhere.  I’m sure the foreigners being held here would like to go home and have the opportunity to see their families again.

Thursday, August 6, 2009 - Posted by | Hillary Clinton, Iran, Justice, Life, Politics, Thoughts


  1. Two parts of your story are incorrect.
    “were arrested in the western Iranian city of Marivan”. They were actually on a hiking trail to the primary tourist attaction of the area in Kurdish Iraq (where they were to report upon the Kurdish elections).

    The other is that they were allowed to contact their families. They have NOT been able to contact anyone, families or lawyers or anyone. Luckily they had been able to talk via cellphone in the few moments before they were arrested. They were in a popular tourist area, and the border was not marked in any way. They believed they were quite far from it. Reports that they were “repeatedly warned” are inaccurate, but all the reports say the border was not marked.

    One might question whether people who cross our borders should be arrested, but my understanding is that usually they are merely deported back to the country they crossed from.

    I don’t understand why you did not check your facts more carefully before passing judgement on these people, who happen to be my friends.

    Comment by Aleen Stein | Friday, August 7, 2009 | Reply

  2. Thanks for the feedback Aleen Stein,

    Yes I should be more careful with my facts in the future. I misread a couple of articles written about this incident. Thanks for the update and I will endeavor to take your advice and be more careful in the future. Too bad you couldn’t tell your friends to be more careful as well. I don’t understand why your friends didn’t check their facts more closely before passing borders along other people’s country. I guess we all make mistakes.

    And you should do more research yourself. People who “wander” into the United States are not merely deported. I seriously doubt if the United States government would simply deport somebody from Iran or North Korea. People aren’t at Guantanamo for their health.


    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Friday, August 7, 2009 | Reply

  3. “Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Joshua Fattal were arrested in the western Iranian city of Marivan”

    The untold story…Shane was the son of legendary terror fighter Jack Bauer…the other two, Americanized citizens from Kurdistan, seeking to destroy the nuclear bomb facilities…unfortunately, while standing at the border a sand stomr came up, blew the dune they were on a little further east, and they thought it had a good view, so they went and stood on its new placement…then the Iranian border guards saw them…. The next episode of 24 will involve Jack coming to the rescue, he’ll fly to Iraq, drive to Iran, download the schematics into his wristwatch/cellphone/ipod/digital underwear changer and save the day….and all in the course of 1 hour!

    Comment by Mike Lovell | Friday, August 7, 2009 | Reply

  4. Aleen Stein,

    Unfortunately for you BrotherP was NOT wrong in his statements. What he was wrong in was lumping the second set of idiots in Iran with the first set of idiots in North Korea.

    The idiots in North Korea WERE able to contact their families as stated by Laura Ling in her television interview after the rescue.

    And I wholeheartedly agree with BrotherP, why didn’t you tell your friends to be more careful instead of walking willy nilly into the arms of a country who we have extremely poor relations with.

    This is the epitome of either white or American privilege. The stupidity to think you are entitled to wander any and everywhere you want. And that someone will inevitably rescue your stupid privileged butt.

    Maybe instead of rescuing these fools we should let them suffer the same consequences of the foolish folks who mistakenly wander across our borders. They just better be glad that the Iranian or North Korean version of our so called minute men didn’t snatch them up.


    Comment by theblacksentinel | Friday, August 7, 2009 | Reply

    • Are you seriously defending the notion that someone (non-American into America, or other) who walks across an unmarked border (ALL the reports agree on this, including the phone call Shane made to his friend just before being arrested) should “suffer the same consequences”? These are real people’s lives. I believe the US border is better marked, but if it isn’t, I don’t think unwitting hikers should be jailed indefinitely. You seem to feel what happens to people now who might cross the US border is fine. REALLY?

      Comment by Aleen Stein | Monday, August 10, 2009 | Reply

    • Aleen Stein,

      Of course we’re not seriously defending the notion that someone who walks across an unmarked border should suffer the same consequences as someone who was picked up by a third party and is brought to Guantanamo for indefinite detainment for being suspected of terrorism. Perish the thought that Americans should suffer the same fate we bestow on people who we think are trying to violate our sovereignty. We are America, for god’s sake. We have every right to detain people at our discretion and no one has the right to detain us. After all, aren’t we the entitled ones?


      Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Monday, August 10, 2009 | Reply

  5. Brotherpeacemaker,

    I have been lurking for a while and i love your blog. I always love to read when you and The Black Sentinel just rip people apart. However, what i love even more is the tag team. The sad thing is that all of your comments, sarcasm aside, will go in one of Aleen Stein’s ears and out of the other. keep up the great blog.

    Comment by nupealot | Monday, August 10, 2009 | Reply

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