31st July 2011 marked exactly two years since Iranian authorities seized three Americans – Shane Bauer, Josh Fatta, and Sarah Shourd – in the mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan and falsely accused them of espionage on behalf of the US government. All three are progressive, anti-imperialist activists, which not only makes the charges against them particularly absurd, but also may explain why the American administration has done so little to free them.
Shourd was released last September and returned to the United States, but Bauer and Fattal remain imprisoned. The two have still not been allowed to have even a brief meeting with their lawyer.
A petition is posted at www.freethehikers.org. It also provides ways to send letters to US and Iranian officials and shows how to help organize actions to protest against the detention and demand their release.
There is also a campaign calling on people to contact the Iranian interest section in Washington in the lead-up to their trial: http://twoyearsistoolong.wordpress.com
Portrait of Three Activists
Bauer, Fattal and Shourd were graduates of the University of California. Fattal's major passions were sustainable agriculture, food justice and permaculture, which he pursued at the Aprovecho Research Center in Oregon, the organisation who pioneered the development rocket stoves.
With support from the Investigative Fund of The Nation Institute and the Center for Investigative Reporting, Bauer was working as a freelance journalist in various countries in the Middle East, exposing a number of aspects of US policy in the region. Along with his friend Dahr Jamail, he was one of the few independent journalists in Baghdad.
Shourd was teaching English as a volunteer with the Iraqi Student Project, which was set up to help refugees whose education had been interrupted by the US invasion and occupation.
All three were actively involved with Direct Action to Stop the War in organising nonviolent action campaigns against the US occupation of Iraq.
View this website for more information: http://freethehikers.org/about-the-hikers/video-of-the-hikers/
Jimmy Cliff Ticket WINNER
We apologize for finishing off this very serious Permaculture News entry with something else, but we did promise to announce the winner of our prize draw to win 2 tickets to see reggae legend Jimmy Cliff live at at Indig02, Greenwich, London on Saturday 3rd Sepember 2011 (for details of other Jimmy Cliff shows worldwide please view his website). We are happy to announce that the winner is Johanna Damm of London. Thank you to everyone who entered, please keep your eyes on our website for further competitions.