The Iranian Hiker’s Guide

Falling through the universe at the speed of life

By David Glenn Cox

During World War II my father was a flight engineer on a US Navy blimp. The Navy used blimps because they could carry radar and stay in the air for twenty-four hours. Because they carried radar, and radar was top secret my father had to get a top security clearance which he did. He knew that we’d broken the German Naval code. Their mission was not to attack the subs but to make sure they were where they were supposed to be and route our convoy’s the other way. It was an intelligence mission, gathering intelligence on the enemy.

I guess most of us growing up had thoughts like, “Maybe my Dad works for the mob? Or is in the CIA?”

I have no proof, none whatsoever, but I lived in Dallas November 22,1963. My father was at the Trade Mart waiting to hear President Kennedy speak. He was active in Democratic politics in Chicago and had taken my sister to hear Kennedy speak in Chicago sitting on the front row, six feet from John Kennedy.

After Dallas, we moved to Montgomery, Alabama for the summer of 1965. My father was a mechanical engineer by training designing equipment for a railroad contractor. We were just in time for Bloody Sunday and we saw the march from Selma to Montgomery. Seems about the time things slowed down in Fungomery we were moving back to Chicago. My father went back to work for a company based out of Zurich Switzerland. He’d worked for them before and this time he would be Vice President of the American business operation.

A couple of years in and the job was going so well they wanted him and my mother to tour Europe and visit the home office in Zurich to talk about moving there. They hit all the high spots London, Paris, East Berlin. For some unknown reason while in Germany my parents boarded a plane and flew to Berlin. My mother hated to fly, I mean, she hated to fly, she would not get on a plane just to see the sights of 1967 Berlin. So, as my father told it…they just happened to be there when they opened up a checkpoint and we figured why not? That part I believe about my parents, if the East German border guard had opened the gate and said, “Come on in, they’d go.

Over the years, it occurred to me that the story was bullshit, whadda ya mean they just happened to open the border for tourists? I’ve never heard of that but if you say so. As the story was told they walked the streets of East Berlin and stopped in a little coffee shop. My mother sort of gave away the game to me as she explained a conversation she had with the waitress in broken English. Even as a kid it struck me…where was my dad? Why wasn’t he involved in this interesting anecdote? We will never know. My father didn’t take the job in Europe.

Back in Chicago, my sister was a graduating senior and was chosen as a page for the Illinois delegation of the Democratic National Convention. She never got in because of the police riot outside. Later in life my father was appointed as lead engineer of a Federal research facility and retired on a government pension.  It’s all coincidence but it sure sounds suspicious.

In July of 2009 three Americans, Joshua Fattal, Sarah Shroud and Shane Bauer where taken into custody for crossing into Iran. Their reason? They were vacationing! And wanted to see the local landmark waterfall on the Iran – Iraq border. Why that makes perfect sense to me. What could possibly go wrong with a plan like that? Let’s all go to the Iranian border just to look around and go hiking. All three, college educated, a reporter with a camera and two social Justice warriors. Just out for a stroll when the Iranians concoct this bizarre theory these three are spies. And looking at it from an Iranian perspective they were either spies or the dumbest S.O. B’s on three continents and parts of south Alabama. The UN and Switzerland helped negotiate their release because Switzerland represents US interests because we don’t have diplomatic relations with Iran, and we didn’t have diplomatic relations with East Germany in 1967.

I heard this story on the radio this morning, but it is in the National Review magazine as well. A US AID was working in Cuba on a program to improve Internet reception. Alan Gross was arrested in 2009 and Cuban Authorities accused him of espionage, and he spent five years in a Cuban prison. While incarcerated he was visited by Senator, Bernie Sanders, Senator, Jon Tester and former senator, Heidi Heitkamp. Gross remembers specifically Bernie Sanders told him he did not see “what’s so wrong with this country”

In 2018, Gross told NPR it didn’t happen and Tester and Heitkamp have no recollection of the remark. A completely uncorroborated story aired in the national press. A story that appears the day after Super Tuesday voting. Get ready, it’s deep and getting deeper, come November we’ll probably have to swim or seek high ground. Gross said he lost five teeth and one hundred pounds and was offended by the Cuban brutality. Gross was charged, tried and convicted. At the other end of Cuba over seven hundred prisoners were held indefinitely at Guantanamo. They were tortured and deprived of sleep and many were never even charged with a crime.

The United States has a long and storied reputation gathering intelligence in Iran and Cuba. This is a big growd up world and I doubt seriously Cuban authorities just picked Gross at random. The innocent victim defense, “I was working in Cuba as a contractor and got arrested. I didn’t know that could happen in country like Cuba.” Look officer, it says right here in my Iranian Hikers guide, we’re still in Iraq! North of the antiaircraft gun and west of the checkpoint.

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