Other: Mossad Ops in Kurdistan, Kurdish Jews Encouraged to Return from Israel
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. Updated news indicates that the Fattal that writes for The Jewish Week
is a different Joshua Fattal and no relation to the Iran captive.
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 29 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 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."
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.
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".
In local news (Oregon):