Benefit tomorrow (Wed./13) for hikers imprisoned in Iran

Shane Bauer, left, and Josh Fattal are still in prison in Iran.
Photo courtesy Free the Hikers

Shane Bauer, a Bay Area photojournalist, will spend his 29th birthday in Iran's Evin Prison on July 13.

He has languished in prison along with his close friend, Josh Fattal, ever since they were detained July 31, 2009 while hiking in Iraqi Kurdistan, near the Iranian border. Bauer's fiancee, Sarah Shourd, was detained with them too, but was released from prison last September after spending 410 days in solitary confinement.

Shourd is joining with friends and supporters of Bauer on July 13 to host a benefit at Rayko Photo Center in San Francisco in support of ongoing efforts to push for Bauer and Fattal's release.

The event will feature a reception and presentation of Bauer's work. According to a press advisory, the evening is also being planned to recognize "the contributions of all the photojournalists who put their safety on the line to tell important and overlooked stories."

Bauer wrote for publications such as The Nation, Mother Jones, and the Christian Science Monitor. A photojournalist who has won multiple awards and had his work published internationally, he's documented everything from tenant conditions in San Francisco SROs to conflict-ridden regions in Africa and the Middle East. Bauer also wrote an article for the Guardian about an Oakland residence that is famous among East Bay anarchists.

There will be a screening of a new video made about his work, as well as a film Bauer produced with David Martinez documenting a group of armed rebels in Darfur. Speakers at the event will include Kim Komenich, a Pulitzer-Prize winning photographer who supports the Dart Center, an organization that works with journalists who suffer PTSD; Lou Dematteis, a former Reuters staff photographer who was based in Nicaragua during the US-backed Contra War; and Shon Meckfessel, a friend of the trio of hikers who nearly accompanied them on the trek in Iraqi Kurdistan but stayed behind because he was feeling ill, thus escaping captivity in Iran.

In Iran, a trial has been set for Bauer and Fattal on July 31, a full two years after they were taken into custody.

Earlier this month, their families of Bauer and Fattal released a statement calling for an end to the nightmare that began when the young men were first detained.

"Iran knows Shane and Josh are innocent and so does the world, which is watching how the Iranian authorities treat this case very closely," the statement said. "Shane and Josh are being held without any due process and their mental and physical welfare is in grave danger. Their suffering needs to end now and they should be allowed to return home immediately."

The event will be held Wednesday, July  13, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Rayko Photo Center, 428 Third Street, S.F. (Presentation starts at 7:15.) For more information, visit,, and


Wouldnt' it be nice to have an event to support the untold number of innocent men, women, and children in prison in Israel simply because they are not Jewish instead of supporting "tourists in a war zone"? Come on SFO, you can do better than be this naive.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 12, 2011 @ 5:15 pm

You've got to be kidding. Untold numbers of innocent men, women and children? How about a few hundred violent, terrorists? You don't have benefits for terrorists even if they aren't Jewish. Supporting tourists? They've been in solitary confinement for 2 years. The Iranians march them out every few weeks to display the "hostages" to the west. Enough is enough. If you wasn't sympathy for Palestinian causes, I suggest you refrain from making light of this atrocity as some perverse way of doing so.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 18, 2011 @ 3:20 pm

It is reasonable for the Iranian government to assume that three Jews "hiking" is Iranian Kurdistan might be Mossad. Israel has been using the Kurds as a cat's paw for some time now, and Israel desperately wants their slave state, the USA, to attack Iran.

Posted by Tom Paine on Jul. 17, 2011 @ 5:27 pm

There are 13,000,000+ Jews in the world. Mossad has an estimated 1,200 employees. .000092307% of Jews work for the Mossad.

Is it reasonable to assume that someone is employed by Mossad solely because they are an ethnic Jew and hiking in Iraq?

What other assumptions would be justified by such percentages?

Posted by marcos on Jul. 17, 2011 @ 5:47 pm

Commenters like this see Mossad everywhere. Why would Mossad hire three bedraggled American hikers to visually scout a border - the existence of which, and whose defenses are well known, is common knowledge to everyone?

People like the commenter don't know the first thing about intel gathering.

Eric Brooks also accuses everyone (including me) of being Mossad. It's absurd.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jul. 17, 2011 @ 6:48 pm

Totally false. 'Lucretia', I have trouble envisioning you as having what it takes to be even a travel agent, let alone a Mossad agent. I accused another poster on that thread of being Mossad. And since Mossad/AIPAC is actively engaged in paying people to blog against journalists and other bloggers who criticize Israel, it is perfectly natural to assume that they have gotten involved in the SF Guardian blogs covering Israel issues.

In any case, I am not surprised, that with your massive narcissistic ego, you would of course assume that you were the one being accused.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Jul. 17, 2011 @ 9:17 pm

Really though, that sounds crazy. Mossad is spending their time and resources on the sfbg blog....

I don't have a dog in this fight, and it's hard for me to get worked up over the idiots profiled in this story. But dude, the blog comments section of the sfbg *might* have a readership of 75 people for a real hot topic. Mossad isn't monitoring that, lol. Slow your role there a bit, bordering on kooky town.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 17, 2011 @ 10:19 pm

With all due respect 'Guest' you don't what you're talking about.

Here is an article from Haaretz (Israel's main daily newspaper) which makes clear that the Israeli government is engaging a public relations blog war to promote and defend Zionism.

The size of the site isn't the issue. It is a relatively easy matter to search for key words, pinpoint sites that are discussing Israel, and then direct posts at them.

The article above is just the public acknowledged wing of this strategy. There are paid bloggers as well.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Jul. 18, 2011 @ 6:02 am
Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jul. 18, 2011 @ 8:38 am

Would you care to prove Haaretz wrong with some evidence of your own that this report in a major daily mainstream newspaper is somehow incorrect?

...Cue crickets...

Posted by Eric Brooks on Jul. 18, 2011 @ 11:04 am

Ha'aretz is clearly not a Friend of Israel.

Posted by marcos on Jul. 18, 2011 @ 11:33 am

Israel is engaging in an attempt to counter negative propaganda by recruiting volunteer bloggers who speak a second language other than Hebrew to blog for them. So far 5 have signed on.

Newsflash Eric - many government do this, either overtly or obliquely. It doesn't prove your point that "Mossad and AIPAC" are recruiting and paying commenters. Do you have proof that most pro-Israel commenters are paid by either "Mossad and AIPAC"? If not then STFU.

Perhaps at the place you got your AA it was considered appropriate to prove your point with a single link. But in the real world that's not considered adequate.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jul. 18, 2011 @ 11:41 am

A surprisingly deft attempt to dodge my challenge but I'm not playing your distraction game.

The article (from 2009) clearly shows Israel gearing up a psyops blogging campaign.

As I recall, my challenge to you was to somehow prove the article incorrect.

You haven't.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Jul. 18, 2011 @ 12:33 pm

Ah yes, those Mossad psyops guys, hanging out on the hot and heavy sfbg site-- the place where the foreign policy establishment comes to get the pulse of the nation.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 18, 2011 @ 12:51 pm

The U.S. sends around $5 billion a year in military aid to Israel.

It would be nothing at all to take a micro-fraction of that yearly budget and dedicate it to a bank of desktop computers which search the web for key words, and report them to a dispatcher, who then ims out posting tasks to a team of bloggers. The SF Guardian is the primary progressive newspaper for a city of almost a million people; and a very influential city in progressive politics seeing that it reports in the district of the House minority leader of the Democratic Party. It obviously qualifies for attention.

This stuff is neither rocket science, nor particularly expensive or onerous.

Without a doubt, the Israeli government has shills blogging on Israel articles on this web site.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Jul. 18, 2011 @ 1:13 pm

Egypt gets roughly the same amount - yet somehow neither Arabs nor Muslims come into the equation here in your analysis.

Yet I see the connection between your hatred of Israel and the arrest of there Americans in Iran - the connection you've made is that they're Jews, therefore they either A. Deserve it B. Are guilty of espionage C. A combination of both.

It's people like you who make the progressive movement look like a lunatic bin of anti-semites and conspiracy theorists.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jul. 18, 2011 @ 1:31 pm

2 billion is a historical average since 1949. The appropriations are higher now. And since we are talking about multiple billions, what the hell difference does it make?

The hikers being held by Iran are totally innocent victims who are being falsely imprisoned, and I fully support the movement to have them released immediately.

Is there anything else you would like to be proved wrong about?

Posted by Eric Brooks on Jul. 18, 2011 @ 2:04 pm

That's not a rolling average - it's the figure for last year. US aid to Israel has actually shrunk because the US no longer gives economic aid to Israel.

And most of that aid is in the form of loan guarantees, which Israel uses to purchase US military equipment - keeping US workers employed.

Bravo for you for your BOLD statement of support for the US hikers. The "movement" just got a shot in the arm with the announced support of SF Green Party denizen Eric Brooks.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jul. 18, 2011 @ 2:20 pm

Your statement that the U.S. "no longer gives economic aid to Israel" is ridiculously false.


Thank you for fulfilling my request to prove you wrong on yet another point.

Any others?

By all means, please continue making a fool of yourself.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Jul. 18, 2011 @ 2:38 pm

to support his assertions with links to factual support.
Because he's a troll and he's full of shit.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 27, 2011 @ 4:55 pm

"Mossad doesn't need to hire amateurs" is typical Lucretia rant.

Posted by vigilante on Jul. 17, 2011 @ 9:21 pm

Trolling again huh?

For someone who thinks myself and Matlock are trolls you SURE spend enough time reading and commenting on our posts. We're endlessly fascinating to you it seems.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jul. 17, 2011 @ 9:57 pm

Every time the vigilante comments.
Also, what's with attempting to disparage by calling someone "vagina"?
Thought you were a crusader for wimmins rites!11!!

Posted by Guest on Jul. 27, 2011 @ 4:52 pm

Total new boogy man of the fringe left. The ones that kind of blend into Ron Paul territory. They are all mossad... Awesome.

Posted by Sambo on Jul. 17, 2011 @ 9:19 pm

A legend in his own mind - LOL.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jul. 17, 2011 @ 9:58 pm

It has been my experience that there are certain folks see "Zionist spies" EVERYWHERE and that seem to think that the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" is a history book. Perhaps it comes as a grand surprise to our devoted Bay Area Israel Haters, but Jews do not secretly run the world, the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" is a proven fraud, there are no "Zionist spies" in your cappucino and everything that you don't understand is not the work of the Mossad. The aid received by Israel from the US is roughly twice what the US spends on chewing gum, and is LESS than the aid given to Egypt, Jordan and the"Palestinians." Haaretz is considered a wacky, far left, anti-government newspaper in Israel. The news paper of record in English is the Jerusalem Post which is almost never cited by local media. Typically, when I have attempted to discuss these matters with Bay Area Israel Haters, usually they recite the myths called the "Palestinian narrative." If it is pointed out that they are factually incorrect,they generally attempt to "trump" the conversation by using a "power word": like "Your'e just a.....Zionist, fascist, racist" or whatever,whether or not it makes any sense in context. Its almost as if "facts were like kryptonite" to Israel Haters.

Posted by Rfael Moshe on Jul. 27, 2011 @ 3:42 pm