Saturday, April 07, 2007

Edgy, nervous, reading from a script, surrounded by state officials and garish national symbols...

Is it really surprising that the first thing that happens to the fifteen marines when they get back is they're given a bollocking and told to read a carefully prepared script for the cameras? Their behaviour was unacceptably calm and un-terrified, apparently. Downing Street is presumably furious at having watched its best plans gang agley, and especially at having had to cut a deal with the evil ones. And what's more, one of the clots had told Sky News that they were spying on Iran, before they were kidnapped - imagine if the MoD hadn't successfully suppressed that one. Naturally, the government has overcome its coyness about it now that the marines are released, and has indicated that the spying was a mere trifle - such a trifle that they suppressed it. One small problem with this is that you can't effectively spy on a nation unless you get up in its territory, as implicitly acknowledged by Lord Admiral Band when he made his official denial that any spying was going on: "The Iranians in that part of Iraqi territorial waters are not part of the scene."

Now, these marines have been made to appear in a British state propaganda stunt with scripts in their hands, reading out a staccato sequence of nonsensical claims apparently designed to somehow justify the word "ordeal". Okay, being nicked by the Iranian revolutionary guards cannot be a cakewalk, but take a look at what they've been asked to say:

Cpt Chris Air said the crew had made it clear they were on a "routine operation allowed under a UN mandate" but the Iranians had a "planned intent."

"Some of the Iranian sailors were becoming deliberately aggressive and unstable."


The officer in charge Lt Carman said they were taken to a prison in Tehran where they were stripped and dressed in pyjamas.

They were kept in stone cells, sleeping on blankets and held in isolation until the last few nights and frequently interrogated.

Lt Carman said they were given two choices.

"If we admitted we had strayed, we would be on a plane back to the UK soon. If we didn't we faced up to seven years in prison".

The only woman in the group, Leading Seaman Faye Turney, believed for at least four days that she was the only one still being held.

"Like all of us she has been exploited," Cpt Air said.

Royal Marine Joe Tindell told how they feared for their lives in prison.

"We had a blindfold and plastic cuffs, hands behind our backs, heads against the wall. Basically there were weapons cocking. Someone, I'm not sure who, someone said, I quote 'lads, lads I think we're going to get executed'."

"After that comment someone was sick and as far as I was concerned he had just had his throat cut."

Now I am sure the first thing that Captain Air would have wished to say in normal circumstances is that he was operating under a UN mandate, dammit. But he actually said it with a script in his hands, which isn't a normal conversational situation. Secondly, however unpleasant it was to be kept in Iranian prison cells, I'm fairly certain that someone throwing up doesn't like someone having their throat cut. It's a different affair entirely, unless Marine Tindell has some expertise in the slitting of throats that I lack. Thirdly, "someone said" bullshit. If you have only fifteen English speaking people nearby, all from the same naval crew, all knowing one another's name and voice, you'd know who the fuck said you were going to be executed. And check out Blair's cheek, trying to deflect attention from his pathetic performance by blaming the Iranians for the destruction of Iraq:

Now it is far too early to say that the particular terrorist act that killed our forces was an act committed by terrorists who were backed by any elements of the Iranian regime, so I make no allegation in respect of that particular incident, but the general picture, as I have said before, is that there are elements, at least, of the Iranian regime that are backing, financing, arming, supporting terrorism in Iraq...

No, the "general picture" is that you have occupied Iraq, killed hundreds of thousands of people, and told every fashion of lie to cover it up, you miserable piece of shit. That's why you're on the way out.