Americans Imprisoned Abroad Who Must Not Be Forgotten

 

Americans imprisoned abroad under questionable circumstances, often for political reasons. This article is about shinning a light on who they are, because these citizens must not be forgotten! At the end of each year I will update their status and add new captives that must be remembered:

Americans Imprisoned Abroad

AJason Rezaian – Status and Location Unknown (Update)

Jason RezaianA journalist for The Washington Post stationed in Tehran, Iran. On 22 July 2014, his home was raided by Iranian authorities and along with his wife Yeganeh Salehi, both were taken into custody. On 6 October, his wife also a journalist was released. Though authorities have yet to officially disclose his whereabouts or provide reasons for his detention, Jason Rezaian remains in custody. 

Iran’s official IRNA news agency reported on Wednesday, that Rezaian has now been officially indicted and will stand trial, yet they did not disclose what the charges will be. The only clue that they dropped was that the trial would be held in Iran’s Revolutionary Court. These courts usually hear cases that involve security offenses.

Martin Baron, Executive Editor of The Washington Post said, 

We still do not know what charges the Iranian authorities have brought against our correspondent Jason Rezaian, but we hope the referral of his case to a Revolutionary Court represents a step forward toward Jason’s prompt release. This step gives Iran’s judiciary an opportunity to demonstrate its fairness and independence by determining that the charges are baseless. We call on Iran to make these charges public, to allow Jason access to a lawyer and to bring a swift and just resolution of a  six-month-long nightmare that has been extremely difficult for Jason and his family. 14 Jan. 2015, Fox News

Jason Rezaian and Yeganeh Salehi

Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi – NOW FREE !Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi

Not unlike another Florida Marine, in 2012 Jon Hammar was locked up in a Mexican border prison, for four months, just for having an antique shotgun in his possession, which he openly declared. That he followed all Mexican laws, rules and regulations did not matter, the joke was on him! Hammar just wanted to pass through Mexico on his way to a surfing vacation in Costa Rica. Only a media uproar, mostly Fox News again, and pressure from some U.S. legislators helped win his freedom.

Then we had the case of Andrew Tahmooressi, who, unlike  Bowe Bergdahl held captive in a land far, far away, actually did serve our country with “honor and distinction.” Yet, he sat for months in a Mexican prison, after making a wrong turn while driving with guns he legally owned, carried and properly declared at the Mexican border. Finally, on 31 Oct. 2014, Tahmooressi was released and sent home to Florida. Though I could let Tahmooressi’s story end here, I will not because the differing ways in which it was covered by some elements of the so called Press, deserve more scrutiny, especially when the bias is so shameless. 

That Robin Abcarian, a columnist for the Los Angeles Times (LA Times), had the nerve to criticize Greta Van Susteren’s coverage of the Tahmooressi case as lacking in journalistic skills, because Van Susteren failed to get Mexico’s side of the story would be amusing, if it were not for her own efforts to paint Bergdhal’s ordeal as a prisoner of war (POW) more worthy of public sympathy then that of Andrew Tahmooressi, even though evidence already existed to support charges that young Bergdhal may be a deserter. Unlike Robin Abcarian, Van Susteren thought it more important to check the validity of Tahmooressi’s claim as to how he ended up at the Mexican border. Her video proved the difficulty of finding signs and exits, anyone could have made the mistake that this stressed out veteran did. That he suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), yet had so many weapons with ammo in his vehicle is about the only observation of Abcarian with which I do agree. However, much of the rest of what she delivers is pure bias! 

DDD

So what if Van Susteren does not have a degree in journalism, she has one in law, which I credit as plenty of weight. Some news organizations these days rely on Snopes to do their investigating for them, What a joke! I give credit to Greta Van Suteren and Bill O’Reilly for not only doing their jobs by bringing these stories to the attention of the American people but championing the causes of these individuals as well. Otherwise, these fine young men would probably still be in Mexican jails. 

That Abcarian is quick to attack critics of a Commander in Chief as apathetic with regard to the Tahmooressi case against his eagerness to trade five high profile and very dangerous Taliban prisoners for Bowe Bergdhal, who may yet turn out to be a deserter as unfair and exposes left wing spin at it’s best. Just like Benghazi and numerous other scandals, mainstream news organizations like the Los Angeles Times exist to defend any criticism of this administration as either racist or “partisan.” Is it any wonder that more and more Americans prefer to get their news from alternative (non government sanctioned) sites like The Blaze, WND, Washington Times, Alex Jones, Michelle Malkin  and Breitbart News. Not to say that newspapers like the LA Times, New York Times and Washington Post  aren’t still useful for coupons and to wrap dead fish, line bird cages and clean windows! 

Mexico is a country to be avoided by most Americans but if you are 13 year old Malia Obama on Spring Break with 12 friends! Don’t worry the taxpayers will pick up the tab – $115,500.87!

DDD

Abcarian’s articles on the Tahmooressi case are listed under References.

Pastor Saeed Abedini – STILL IN CUSTODY!

Pastor Saeed AbediniImprisoned in Iran and  sentenced to eight years for undermining Iran’s national security by setting up home-based Christian churches and trying to build an orphanage. Now his mother and two siblings have been forced to flee Iran due to repeated threats to their lives. Presently, they await transport to the United States to reunite with Naghmeh Abedini, his wife.

DDD

 Robert Levinson – STATUS & LOCATION UNKNOWN!

Robert LevinsonAn American private investigator and retired DEA and FBI agent, Robert Levinson was taken hostage on March 9, 2007 when visiting Iran’s Kish Island while supposedly researching a cigarette smuggling case. Levinson is currently the longest held hostage in American history. U.S. officials believe Levinson, was kidnapped exactly two weeks before the 2007 Iranian seizure of Royal Navy personnel and that he arrested by Iranian intelligence officials to be interrogated and used as a bargaining chip in negotiations with Washington. 

On 21 January, 2014, almost 7 years from the time of his disappearance, an investigation led by the Associated Press reported that Levinson worked for the CIA. However, U.S. officials denied that claim. With this revelation made public and upon advise from her attorney, Levinson’s wife, Christine, publicly confirmed that her husband Bob did on occasion funnel information to the U.S. intelligence community.

He was working as a consultant for the CIA and was also a private investigator. He was able to do both at the same time in his travels. Christine Levinnson, 21 January 2014

Robert Levinson’s story is certainly more troubling than that of the other Americans held in captivity. Yet, I find the actions of the Associated Press despicable for making known to the public Levinson’s work with the CIA. That Robert Levinson may not have had an arrangement with U.S. intelligence at the time he was taken does not even matter. When such information is revealed, that individual becomes a more likely candidate for interrogation. That five years had already passed or that his tormentors had already assumed that the purpose of Levinson’s visit to the island of Kish was to gather information on their dirty laundry of secrets does not even matter. In any case, what may or may not have been known as truth was made clear through public disclosure. Our mainstream news media is often the most useful tool in the arsenals of our enemies!

Family of Robert Levinson, missing ex-FBI agent, releases hostage video. Associated Press. 2011-12-09

DDD

Amir Hekmati – STILL IN CUSTODY!

A former U.S. Marine and a veteran of the War in Iraq, was arrested in August 2011 Amir Hekmati” width=”190″ height=”277″ />while visiting his grandmother and other relatives in Iran. According to Iranian officials, Hekmati allegedly entered Iran from Bagram Airfield via Dubai. On 18 December 2011, a confession by Hekmati appeared on Iranian state television and stated that he had infiltrated Iran, in order to establish a CIA presence in the country, but Hekmati’s family claims that the alleged confession was coerced, and that he was not a spy. On 9 January 2012, he was sentenced to death, then on 5 March 2012, the Iranian Supreme Court overturned his death sentence and ordered a retrial. The judges decided that the verdict against Hekmati was “not complete” and referred his case to an affiliate court. According to media reports, Hekmati is still in prison awaiting a retrial.

American ‘spy’ hits back at Iranian captors

Barack Obama, did not even have the decency to bring up the cases of Saeed Abedini, Robert Levinson and Amir Hekmati, for negotiation before he dumped billions of tax payer dollars of relief aid on Iran!

Kenneth Bae – NOW FREEKenneth Bae

Kenneth Bae was traveling with five European tourists in Rajin-guyŏk, Rason, North Korea, when officials discovered that he was carrying a computer hard disk that supposedly contained pictures of starving North Korean orphans. Working with evangelical organization Youth With A Mission(YWAM); Bae was accused of preaching against the North Korean government in American and South Korean churches. Recently, the North Korean government also accused Bae of planning a “Jericho Operation” to bring down the government through religious activities. My goodness, if North Korea thinks that Kenneth Bae was planning a “Jericho Operation,” then they should read my article on “North and South Korea Reunited Through Prayer Bombs!” The leadership of North Korea is crazy on steroids, but one day their walls will fall down and the world will see the crimes of that wicked regime.

Kenneth Bae Bears No Anger After Two Years in a North Korean Prison

Alan Alan GrossGross – NOW FREE

Alan Gross was in Cuban custody since December 2009, when he was jailed while working as a subcontractor. Cuban authorities claimed that Gross tried to set up illegal Internet connections on the island. Gross says he was just trying to help connect the Jewish community to the Internet. Former President Jimmy Carter and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson both traveled to Cuba on Gross’ behalf, but were unable to secure his release. 

Then on December 17, 2014, the Cuban government released Alan Gross on humanitarian grounds and allowed him to return to the United States on a U.S. government plane. The article below provides a good explanation of Gross’s repatriation to the United States and how the Castro brothers got what they wanted, the return of three convicted Cuban terrorists serving in one of our prisons and a renewed diplomatic relationship with the United States, thanks to closet Commie Barack Obama. Of course this move does not make everyone happy!

United States ‘deeply concerned’ by Cuba Dissident Arrests

Someone Who Should Be Remembered

But For Different Reasons

Mathew MillerMatthew Miller – NOW FREE

Young and brave or just very stupid, Matthew Miller decided to investigate this strange country for himself, even if it meant an indefinite gig in a North Korean prison camp. His first red flag to North Korean authorities was a deliberately damaged visa. Next, a notebook filled with some pretty silly entries that included claims of “hacker” history with connections to Wikileaks, as well as written notes with abbreviations such as “RAC,” which Miller claimed stood for “Renounce American Citizenship.” Also included were entries that appeared to show support for, 

the removal of American military troops from South Korea

That the 25 year old alluded to carrying state secrets held by the US and South Korea, revealed a desperate attempt to be taken seriously, but the Koreans did not fall for it.

My main fear was that they would not arrest me when I arrived. Matthew Miller, 20 November, The Guardian

When he finally admitted that all he wanted to do was explore their country, talk to ordinary people and discover for himself what North Korea is all about, they must have been baffled. I mean, who would risk six years of hard labor to do that? So they detained Miller in the Yanggakdo International Hotel in Pyongyang. Over the next few days North Korean officials urged him to leave the country, but he refused to go.

I was not there to give secret information or anything like that. I just wanted to speak to an ordinary North Korean person about normal things. Matthew Miller, 20 November, The Guardian

After three weeks he was moved to another location called the “guest house,” where Kenneth Bae and several other unidentified prisoners were also being held. Eventually, Miller got what he wanted, a show trial and six years at “hard labor.” That he spent the next five months, rather than five years, digging ditches, moving rocks and whacking weeds must have been therapeutic, because he changed his mind about returning home to the USA.

Though he says that over the next few months he conversed with “various ordinary individuals,” I find that bold claim to be most unlikely. Since he could not speak the language and therefore had to have the assistance of a translator whenever he did converse with others, how could he know what was actually said in a very guarded reply. On the other hand, if the individual with whom he spoke happened to understand English, then that person was not “ordinary.”

That Kenneth Bae may have been kept as a bargaining chip for negotiations with Washington may have been one thing, but this well intentioned, reckless young man was another. He was just too eager to be there. My guess, the North Koreans could save on food rations by returning him to the United States. 

From what I have read about these cases so far, most foreigners, especially Americans are kept in better living conditions and separate from the locals. However, I would need more information before I could be absolutely sure of that. Matthew Miller had a room to himself, not exactly the idea of “collective reform,” that Korea’s citizens are most likely subjected to.

Before the Korean Peninsula was divided into North and South, it was known as Chosun, “The Hermit Kingdom,” but under the House of Kim, the word “hermit” has taken on whole new meaning. It is unfortunate that North Korea is such a closed society. Yet, I believe the day is soon upon us that a new light will shine from within that land and it will not be from a nuclear glow. Christians in the South – Keep Praying!

Freed American Matthew Miller:

I wanted to stay in North Korea

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References:

Misguided partisans ask Obama to intervene for Marine jailed in Mexico

The story and spin behind ex-Marine Tahmooressi, jailed in Mexico

Maybe we should thank Mexico for intercepting that armed ex-Marine

A poignant tale from ex-Marine held in Mexico, but not the whole story

Other Sources:

Greta Van Susteren Won’t Let BARACK OBAMA Claim Credit for Marine Sgt. Tahmooressi Release