March 28, 2007

Brits On Parade

In an escalation to the crisis over the seizure of 15 British sailors and Marines, the Iranians have displayed them on television, apparently forcing the female sailor to read a public statement. The Iranians have also promised to release her as a goodwill gesture:

A letter allegedly written by a captured British sailor to her parents says she had "apparently" entered Iranian territorial waters, the Iranian Embassy in London said Wednesday.

The letter was addressed to the parents of Faye Turney, one of the 15 British sailors captured by Iranian forces after they allegedly trespassed in Iranian waters. An Iranian embassy official e-mailed a copy of the letter to The Associated Press, saying Turner wrote it on Wednesday. ...

Meanwhile, Iranian state TV showed video of some of the sailors and marines, including Turney, who wore a white tunic and a black head scarf and said the British boats "had trespassed" in Iranian waters.

"Obviously we trespassed into their waters," Turney said on the broadcast by Al-Alam, an Arabic-language, Iranian state-run television station that is carried across the Middle East.

"They were very friendly and very hospitable, very thoughtful, nice people. They explained to us why we've been arrested, there was no harm, no aggression," she said.

Allahpundit and Power Line have more on the odd syntax used by Turney in her televised statement. It suggests that its true author has little familiarity with British English, or at least a tin ear for it. For some reason, the Iranians seem to feel that these video releases will somehow put minds at rest about the treatment of their abductees -- they did the same thing in 2004, and the effect was just as creepy and unbelievable then.

Plus, it amounts to another violation of the Geneva Convention. Convention III, Article 13 states:

Likewise, prisoners of war must at all times be protected, particularly against acts of violence or intimidation and against insults and public curiosity.

The US has been accused of violating this just for showing video of the capture of combatants in Iraq and Afghanistan. This cuts much closer to the mark. Clearly, the Iranians want to capitalize on the "public curiosity" of their prisoners, and they want to pressure the British government into acquiescence based on the publication of the videos. This goes with the potential violation of charging military personnel captured in uniform with espionage, which the Iranians have threatened to do.

Once again, we strain to hear the cries of those who display such sensitivity to the widest possible interpretation of the GC when the conduct of the US or its allies are in question. So far, we have not heard any outcry from a definite violation and the threat of another from a non-Western nation. If the GCs are only applicable to Western democracies, then perhaps the critics can just acknowledge that honestly.


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Comments (18)

Posted by Carol_Herman [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 28, 2007 6:20 PM

Have you learned anything, yet?

Let's see.

The rubber rafts were ten miles from the "mother ship." And, on board the "mother ship," the CORNWALL, was a commander. Named Woods. Who "called home." As soon as he knew the iranians didn't respect him very much. HE CALLED HOME! Asking "what to do."


The allies decided to run some powerful war games. It's a REAL THEATER! While, the price per barrel for oil, goes UP. Suddenly UP. Which is GOOD for the Iranians!

IF the iranians have a game plan it should include making Tony Blair look innept. CHECK.

Makes the whole Mideast "arab situation" making the Saudis look like positive geniuses! CHECK.

And, Bush doesn't see a problem, yet. CHECK.

And, then check this out: The Saudis are having a big pow-wow. They're telling Israel the "only hope for peace" is to go back to pre-1967 lines.

ANd, condi is in the area "hoping to impress on Israel" to "agree." Or at least "work with this." And, hold off debating. For later. Or the 12th of Never.

While Bush? He doesn't see himself as Jimmy Carter LITE. But check. You'll begin to smell Bush's lackluster performances coming home to roost.

While in gazoo, there's now flowing rivers of shit. Killed a few people. Who had been stealing SAND!

Did you know gazoo had beachfront property? LOTS OF SAND. But that's not quite what the arabs do. Given how they dress. They're not about to jump into the sea in those clothes! Sheets. And, swimming. Not harmonious attire.

While the Israelis just "wait." Olmert? Thinks he's gonna stay in office "no matter what." While, "no matter what" is the daily loss of political capital. And, a report that keeps leaking out about "last summer."

The worst part of this environment is how poorly Bush grasps reality. He should have been talking to Americans; convincing Americans that we should be riding high.

Nothing of the sort. Bush is in the same boat as Jimmy Carter.

You want to blame the donks? Why? The mainstream audience isn't giving them any credits, either.

It's just a shame, though. That the Saud's are able to control what we do, and then choose not to do, in the Mideast.

By the way, unlike Bush, the Iraqis are NOT looking to the Saudis, to "solve" their problems.

What's it gonna take for these games to stop?

For Jimmy Carter? The Americans were held for 444 days.

Did you notice that iran got away with what looks like a "picnic?" They're "feeding" their hostages. And, the woman has her head covered. This is normal?

Sure doesn't even come close to looking "normal."

While the ships at sea? They're doing a performance of strength. What nonsense.

Posted by docjim505 [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 28, 2007 6:43 PM

Cap'n Ed wrote:

For some reason, the Iranians seem to feel that these video releases will somehow put minds at rest about the treatment of their abductees -- they did the same thing in 2004, and the effect was just as creepy and unbelievable then.

Unbelievable to you and unbelievable to me, but not to the various lefties around the world who will not only use this video as "proof" of the Iranians' humanity and good intentions, but will also use it to show how "decent" countries treat its captives.

Lefties are incapable of noticing the evil motives or actions of anybody but Americans (and are perfectly capable of hallucinating evil when it doesn't exist). I've seen film of Hanoi Jane after she met with our POWs in Hanoi. When asked about their complaints that the NVA tortured them, Hanoi Jane flatly said, "They're lying."

Parading prisoners before the cameras and getting them to read stilted, phony statements about how well off they are and how gosh-darned nice their captors are behaving is an old trick that keeps being used because lefty idiots keep swallowing the story.

Posted by Bennett [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 28, 2007 7:01 PM

I don't think this video is intended to provide any comfort at all. By forcing her to wear a head scarf (which presumably she wouldn't typically do so) and then read a statement clearly not in her own words, I think the motive is to humiliate or offend. The sailor is powerless, that seems to be the message here, compelled to do whatever her captors require. She is powerless and so is her government.

Unfortunately, I'm not so sure anyone in Britain is going to be bothered by this at all. There seems to be little indignation, at least based on what I can tell from over here, reading the British newspapers online.

Wouldn't this be a wonderful opportunity for some grassroots display of People Power? How about a spontaneous demonstration in the streets of London, marching on the Iranian embassy, waving signs and shouting slogans...Free the 15!

Granted, it probably wouldn't do much to resolve the situation but at least the British people could show a little spunk. No true power, but at least a little spunk. It's about all they have left. Or should anyway.

Posted by Carol_Herman [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 28, 2007 7:30 PM

Can you imagine if Guiliani was the president, and this crap came down the pike?

Do you notice that Bush is UNABLE to speak? He seems so out of touch!

And, Tony Blair? What good does it do if the commander of the CORNWALL did NOTHING.



Okay, now the admirals (who work through the pentagon), are doing "routines." Or THEATER. As if this is gonna impress anyone!

Do you realize that nobody thinks Bush will lift a finger? And, Tony Baloney Blair ISN'T LOOKING FOR "HALP," EITHER. They just do "photo-opportunities."

Sure makes looking like joining the royal navy to be a crock!

And, nothing is going to get better!

Yes, separate from Bush's inaction. And, his "other choices," where he thinks the Saudis are on a roll, no less. (Except that Maliki says he's not interested in what the arabs are saying at their "sunni" summit.) Maybe, you get influenced by that crap?

But it's just like weddings.

Once? Weddings meant something.

Now? When you go you also think the couple won't stay together. It's just a "show.

And, we're being subjected to it!

While the donks are not gaining, either!

Bush is actually losing ALL BY HIMSELF! He wakes up in the moring. BINGO. He's losing by the time he puts on his pants.

Weak man. Surrounded by lackluster staff.

And, unlike Jimmy Carter; Bush doesn't even seem engaged.

While, ahead? I guess we can count the days the British sailors will be in "captivity." To make the Guinness Book of records? 444 days is the number to beat.

No. I'm not impressed with the "water works" exhibitions going on at sea, either. It would mean something, though, if all the rehearsals led to an attack.

But the Saud's have just told Bush NO.

So, there ya go.

The news will pass.

We are NOT in Vietnam!

And, the Saud's are also unaware of what most Americans think of those rag heads.

By the way, in England and France, the "average person" is also disgusted with the rag heads.

In Israel? They're just waiting out this storm. Having people like Bush and Olmert in office? It's probably better than having countries at war.

And, sooner or later the cesspool will extend from gaza to riyadh. Lebanon, NOT getting a report on last summer's war; is in worse shape than the Israelis. Who are merely complaining about the lackluster talents Olmert's government really has. Someday, condi will go over there, and the offices she's been visiting? Will be shut tight. The signs will be gone. And, she'll meet "new" operators.

Will they be like the old ones?

Hard to tell.

If you told me this bush would channel Jimmy Carter, I'd have found that strange to believe.

No longer strange. But that its all the more difficult to fix? Yes. It. Is.

Will Bush get kicked around for the next two years? Sure. That seems likely.

He's not gonna find a friend in Tony Baloney Blair, no matter what!

I hope we build our warships better than the ones the Brit's build for themselves.

You know what I mean? That the commander has a manual he can open when things get rough. Can you imagine what sort of idiot calls home?

What did he ask of Blair? "Hello? Got your makeup on? I think the cameras are coming."

A warship. What do they have on board? Champagne?

Posted by patrick neid [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 28, 2007 7:55 PM

i think we are getting close to the point where the mullah in question has a hand that is starting to hurt. six going on seven days of bitch slapping the brits has got to give him a sore hand.

any day now blair will do the kow tow and they will be released--once again showing how humane the iranians are!

i say give them the bomb--the suspense is killing me!

Posted by Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 28, 2007 8:43 PM


I made the mistake of reading your first couple of sentences. I hate to tell you this, but Bush is not the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Tony Blair is and since Bush is the President of the United States....he might be taking his cue from Tony here. I doubt if Rudy would push Tony aside and nuke Iran or anything.

Honestly, you are no more rational than some Jew hating Trotskyite.

Posted by Fight4TheRight [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 28, 2007 9:21 PM

Does anyone remember the "deal" that Osama bin laden offered to Europe? The one where he would let Europe off the hook and give them "protection"?

I'm wondering why Europe didn't take the deal! Spain bolted from Iraq with their bull-fighting tails between their legs after the train bombings, France...ah yes, France, which will soon be known as The People's Repbulic of Iran- West, Great Britain who certainly doesn't want any more kind of unrest in their Islamic population and then there's Germany - heck, Germany won't even put a SINGLE combat troop in Afghanistan!

Why NOT take the deal?

And I sit here and wonder just how long it will be that the U.S.A. is acting the same way. I feel like I'm watching some cheap horror movie where the killer is waiting behind the door with an axe and the smiley-faced victim painstakingly takes 1 hour to walk slowly towards that room, towards that door.

I sit here in a State where "we" have elected the first Muslim to Congress and a Democrat has announced his intentions to run for the U.S. Senate seat in 2008 - a media comedian, failed Lib talk show host - a guy who has Bill Maher's picture more than likely tattooed on his ankle.

There are days I am so doggone tempted to just throw up my hands and say, "That's it! It's over! Let the sheep bleat their way to slaughter" But then, thankfully, my Faith takes hold once again and I renew my vow to Fight.

Posted by [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 28, 2007 11:19 PM

Cap'n Ed : Once again, we strain to hear the cries of those who display such sensitivity to the widest possible interpretation of the GC when the conduct of the US or its allies are in question. So far, we have not heard any outcry from a definite violation and the threat of another from a non-Western nation.

This sabre rattling by the Iranians is disgraceful, unproductive and uncivilized.

There. Have I now fulfilled my CQ Quota of politically correct slogan-chanting? I'm sure the Iranians will be most impressed.

Posted by lexhamfox [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 29, 2007 1:22 AM

Ed, This abduction is quite different from the earlier situation accoding to my sources. They feel much more certain that this was premeditated given the details of the situation and the location of the incident. Without providing much detail, I have heard the servicemen in the earlier situation were treated pretty badly by the Iranians and a lid was kept on that aspect of the previous incident. Obviously this is an attempt by elements in the regime, specifically the Revolutionaly Guard, to precipitate some sort of conflict along the lines of the abductions on the Israeli - Lebanese frontier. I personally think the British are handling this well by pointing out that the Iranians abducted the inspection team in Iraqi waters while they were conducting lawful inspections. The more radical elements of the Iranian regime want a conflict to unify a skeptical population behind their President and also to drown out the growing international isolation faced by the regime. I think they are doing the right thing. At least the focus now remains on the Iranian illegal abduction and not on retailiation by US or British forces in the area. Other elements within the Iranian regime are trying to defuse the situation and we should all hope that this is resolved soon through diplomatic channels.

This is not, however, a violation of the Articles of the Geneva Convention as Ed suggests since there is no conflict and the British prisoners are not prisoners of war. It is a serious violation of common and customary international law which would allow for consular visits to prisoners and suspects being held in another country. In fact, breaching these basic customary laws is probably more serious than violations of the Geneva Convention Articles for a range of reasons.

All kinds of people are speaking out about this and it makes Iran look bad the same way that trapped Britons were paraded by Saddam after the invasion of Kuwait seved only to harden international opion against him and Iraq ahead of that operation.

Max Hasings provided some excellent comments on this 'flailling" regime which is going through some pretty desperate times. Cool heads are required to make this work against them properly and the Iranians are getting the ridicule they deserve for this. I hope those servicemen and woman come through this unscathed.

Posted by BODYGUARDS [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 29, 2007 2:44 AM

UN Secretary-General said he'll ask Iran to free 15 U.K. sailors and Marines -

however, Iran's Foreign Ministry said the female officer should be freed in about a day

Posted by jerry [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 29, 2007 7:02 AM


You are so perceptive. So you think that this was a premeditated act along the lines of Hezbollah kidnapping Israeli soldiers? I think we need to bring you in as the next USD instead of Lt Gen Clapper.

I see that you are hopeful that this will be resolved “peacefully” by “moderate” regime elements. That’s what we thought in 1979. Iran wants something, actually several things. They want us to stop putting pressure on their agents in Iraq. They also want to humiliate the UK so they are no longer a factor in world affairs. Remember, they want a world without the Anglosphere and the Jews. But of course I suppose you believe that is just a bunch of rhetoric and not to be taken seriously. The “moderate’ elements will ensure that peace will rein.

It might surprise you that I am not advocating US action to bail out Mr. Blair. The US Navy should remain in the background to provide support to RN forces if they choose to retaliate. I do not want Britain to become like the rest Europe, i.e., parasites that leave their security to the Untied States while they feel free to insult us. This may be the UK’s last chance to redeem their national manhood, if they have any left. If they pursue the limp wristed course that you purpose Blair and New Labor will be gone in a few months. But since you claim connection to the new Tory Party you may see this as positive development.

Posted by johnnymozart [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 29, 2007 9:49 AM


I have to disagree with you. I understand the point you're making, but I think you're stretching. Iran has been in a state of unofficial war with the West for thirty years, especially, but not limited to, the US. I think Ed's point is an apt one. No one complaining about GC violations in Iraq or Guantanamo seemed to care that there was no formal declaration of war, and so yes, there is a significant amount of hypocrisy there. Whether it is a violation or not (if we're stretching, then this could conceivably fall within "indiscriminate attacks". Indiscriminate attacks are prohibited. (Protocol I, Art. 51, Sec. 4), I have heard exactly zip about human rights and the rights of prisoners from the group who was waxing apoplectic about the treatment of killers, rapists, and bombers in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo a very short time ago.

Lets not defeat the spirit of the law with the letter of the law.

Posted by Barnestormer [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 29, 2007 10:32 AM

If the Brits are correct about who was operating where, what was an Iranian combat craft doing in Iraqi waters in the first place? And if Lex is correct, and GC does not apply because there was no conflict between Iran and the UK, does a kidnapping of RN crew operating lawfully under a UN mandate in Iraqi waters, by Iranian military opering unlawfully in those waters, qualify as sufficient to start one?

Did Tony Blair hire the same PR firm that GWB and Alberto Gonzales seem to rely on?

Let's hope the radical Islamist cells feared to be operating clandestinely in the U.S. don't get wise and start patrolling the Great Lakes.

Posted by lexhamfox [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 29, 2007 3:38 PM


It has been nearly a week since the servicemen were detained. They are receiving lots of attention and reaction from the British Government and the EU and I would expect the UNSC to get involved to. Violation of consular access and the way Iran has handled everything violates broader and more important international customs than the Geneva Conventions. This was a targeted detainment in disputed territory rather than an indiscriminate attack (that clause is meant to prohibit carpet bombing and other more dramatic actions).

Amnesty, Human Rights Watch and the other groups that I am assuming you and Ed are derriding for not screaming about this regularly criticize Iran and Iran has been on their shit list for years. Think back to the murder of the Canadian/Iranian journalist while in detention and the outcry over that from governments, human rights groups, and various journalist groups and I think you will find that no one holds back just because the perpetrators are Iranian or extremists. By not allowing consular access they have already violated the human rights of the detained servicemen and this has been voiced officially already. Those civilians who work for those human rights agencies risk their lives to collect information and report on the legion of human rights abuses in Iran and they deserve better treatment than Ed's suggestion that they do nothing when it comes to Iran and other nefarious regimes.

My argument, for those who have criticized my earlier post, is that the detention is designed to provoke a reaction from the west in order to unify the country around the extremists who planned it. There is already evidence from statements within the Iranian government that there are serious splits between those elements in the Iranian government who want to foment a conflict with the west (Rev Guard & other extremists) and those who wish to see this situation difused (Iranian Foreign Office and Parliament). This is a completely different situation to the one which Carter faced after the Iranian Revolution when there was not a formal governement. We are not at war with Iran but things are getting warmer there and an open conflict with Iran would not serve our near or long term goals in the region.

Jerry, I think that the Islamists have other targets other than merely Isreal and the Anglosphere... think Russia, India,... you know the drill, just about everyone out there including most of the Arab regimes. I am not surprised that you aren't advocating a response from the US Navy since that would be idiotic at this stage in the crisis and would go against the wishes of Americas closest ally. I am, however, surprised that you suggest Britain's 'manhood' is somehow under threat or determined by the way this is handled. The Tories have fully supported Blair's handling of the situation thus far and the nation is behind the government on this too. There are many more steps that can be taken to increase pressure on the regime for the release of the servicemen which stop short of shooting and this will be evident over the coming weeks if they are not released.

Posted by jerry [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 29, 2007 4:55 PM


As usual you have evaded answering the specific question. I didn't ask you if Jihadists attack other countries besides the Anglosphere or Israel. I asked if you took the Iranian President's statements about whether his stated objective of a world without the US, Britain and Israel were just rhetoric or real.

Are you old enough to remember the 1979 hostage crisis and I don't mean as a ten year old. The path you suggest leads down the 444 day crisis not to a quick resolution.

And yes as is traditional the Tories are supporting the government right now but I you very well that if this begins to look like 1979 the Tories will be call for Blair's government to step down.

Posted by lexhamfox [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 29, 2007 5:28 PM

I don't think they have a problem with Jews as such... they have a lively Jewish minority and there is a Jewish MP in the majlis. The President himself made a personal donation to the Jewish hospital there and the Jewish MP who berated him for his hosting the Holocaust sham is still in good health and speaking openly. Hardly the acts of a guy who wants the Jews exterminated. The Iranians still resent Britain, The US, and Isreal because those countries supported the overthrow of Mossedeq and supported the Shah's regime. I don't think that justifies what they do and I like the fact that they are surrounded, experiencing economic troubles, and are diplomatically isolated. Those pressures are mounting and should be given time to precipitate some results. I dount that a strategic bombing campaign would meet ANY of our goals.

At the time of the hostage crisis I was at a school in Europe which at the time had a very large number of Iranian students... I recall two of my good friends had a falling out as one was a supporter of the Shah and another supported the Revolution. I recall vividly being a dinner guest at the house that supported the revolution and they had a picture of the Ayatollah surrounded by fresh flowers... they were very curious to know what my opinion was of the situation.. I was frank... so were they. It was that experience which led to my talking up studying the region and my dissertation for my Msc was on the Iranian Revolution which was later published. I also researched a book for Dilip Hiro on the Iran-Iraq war. The book was crap but I learned much about both sides from the research.... there were two of us doing it and we received no credits!!!

I can imagine a situation where the Tories would turn on Blair but as I mentioned earlier... this crisis is still in its very early stages and I think they are doing the right thing.

Posted by TonyGuitar [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 31, 2007 12:43 PM

Hewitt and Mark Steyn chat. . .

The Hewitt piece is lengthy and you may not have time to read it all ..
Isn*t this the best real meat of anything you may have seen by informed and respected columnists?

======== **
MS: But all the people who complain and whine about Gitmo all day long don’t care about countries like Iran violating the Geneva Conventions. Iran can violate them with impunity, and so will continue to do so. And I’m very concerned.

Iran, you talk about the chronology, Iran respects far fewer of the basic courtesies between states than the Soviet Union, or the Chinese Communists, or any other traditional enemy of the United States has ever done. And the fact of the matter is that we respond weakly every time this happens.
[Appeasement = TG ]

The absolute low point of the Cold War was nothing to do with America’s relations with the Soviet Union, but was Jimmy Carter’s completely disastrous behavior, vis-à-vis Iran in 1979. And the British are in effect reenacting a Carter strategy, 28 years later.

HH: Do you…I noted that you quoted at, Speaker Gingrich’s suggestion on this program yesterday, Rush even played it today, that first, blow the gasoline refinery, and then stop the tankers. Do you think there’s a chance in the world the Brits will adopt such a strategy?

MS: No, and I think the thing about it is that if you were to propose that either in the House of Commons, or in the United States Congress, people would regard you as an extremist. You would be accused of escalating the situation.

Now I think you could make the case that in fact, you don’t even need to do as Newt was talking about with you, which is to threaten them privately with it for a week. I mean, you could make the case that they should just do it.
========================== !

I mean, Iran surprises us all the time. It seizes sailors, it takes out hit contracts on British subjects like Salman Rushdie, it blows up community centers in Argentina, it seizes the U.S. Embassy.
Iran doesn’t threaten to do that, it just gets on with it and does it. And maybe there’s a case to be said for well, maybe we should just do something against Iran.

Maybe we should just take out that refinery, and they can wake up to it, and see it smoking when it happens, and then they’ll realize we’re serious.

Amen and Amen, [Non- Appeasement.] = TG

PS. These are professional people who have valued careers at risk, yet they speak the unspeakable.

How is it that we bloggers, with nothing to lose speak so timidly for fear of being called a war-monger? Except for a brave Patrick Neid @ 7:55 above. = TG

Posted by TonyGuitar [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 31, 2007 12:53 PM

PS. Iran only has the one refinery and when Iranians are walking instead of driving, their ire will be directed at Acmahdinejad and the Mullahs.

They will realize the Brits / West had no other option. ... Oh I know, every action breeds re-action, yadda, yadda.= TG