It's now been over six months since those three Berkeley grads were taken hostage by the Iranian government after mistakenly crossing the border into the country while hiking in Iraqi Kurdistan. A couple weeks back, Iranian President Ahmadinejad offered to swap the three hostages for 11 Iranians held in the U.S. for various crimes including arms deals; Hillary Clinton balked and refused. The siblings of the hikers have put up a website, with a petition and a video plea (after the jump) asking for YouTube submissions to give the kids "strength" while in captivity -- though it seems doubtful that they have YouTube access.

Then this opinion columnist lady at the Philadelphia Inquirer penned a piece calling for their release, and notably defending their choice of a hiking spot saying, from personal experience, "Those mountains are extraordinarily beautiful, and Kurds hike there on vacations. Moreover, Iraqi Kurdistan, unlike the rest of Iraq, is so peaceful one can forget that it's surrounded by bad neighborhoods."