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What the hell happened to “name, rank and serial number”?

Frequent commenter ‘Old Jack Tar’ has a rather different view than the one being offered up by the UK media regarding the conduct of some of the British naval personnel being held captive in Iran.

Ever since the capture by Iranian forces of fifteen British naval personnel, the UK news channels have been falling over themselves to praise female British sailor Faye Turney. I have heard her described as “professional” and “well trained” and “sensible”.

Really? I beg to differ. From the moment they were captured they should have responded with NOTHING except “Name, rank and serial number”. These people have a professional (and legal) requirement to keep their yaps shut and not give aid with their words to a clearly hostile foreign government.

Yet she appears to have written a ‘heartfelt’ letter home praising the ‘kind’ and ‘warm’ Iranians who kidnapped her at gunpoint, admitting the boarding party had strayed into Iranian waters, presumably in return for a kebab.

My equally ex-RN wife’s remark upon seeing Turney on TV wearing a headscarf was “I would have thanked them for giving me something I could use to strangle one of the guards with when I eventually make my escape, but if they want me to wear it, well I would have told them exactly where they can…”

My good wife is a forthright person and decorum prevents me from finishing her remarks.

“Professional” and “well trained” my arse. Yet I have the sickening feeling this woman will be lionised when she is eventually released.

114 comments to What the hell happened to “name, rank and serial number”?

  • Pa Annoyed

    Sorry to disagree again. Name, rank, and serial number are all one is required by law to give, but there is no legal obligation not to say anything else (it wouldn’t be practical), and the Navy’s advice to anyone captured, whether by kidnappers or governments, is to say whatever you need to if it will get you out. Everybody knows by now that it’s meaningless and not to be believed, if they desperately want it they can force it out of you by highly unpleasant means anyway (and who knows, it might have been already), and its a heck of a lot lower price for an early release than might be extracted otherwise.

    There are times when it is important to make a stand. But to exchange something that is practically worthless (an obviously false “confession” that will last only until they’re all home) for something extremely valuable (our people home, alive and unharmed) is a good deal. If it was given up for free, that’s bad, but if it was given in exchange for more valuable concessions I wouldn’t be so quick to judge.

  • Bombadil

    I agree with Pa Annoyed.

    My understanding is that the current doctrine in the US Armed Forces is something like:

    1) Efforts to resist interrogation are ultimately futile; that is, eventually you will “crack”;

    2) Resisting as long as possible could mean being mutilated or killed;

    3) People watching video of captured personnel know that they are being coerced anyway, so nobody puts much stock in such videos;

    4) Rank-and-file military personnel are not told anything of sufficient intelligence value to warrant getting killed over it;

    5) Therefore, if presented with a choice between signing a “confession” or being tortured, they are specifically instructed to sign the confession.

    I suppose the UK armed forces would operate under a similar set of protocols.

    Not being in the military myself, I only know this secondhand. Any current military readers who could confirm this?

  • Sorry but you don’t know what you’re talking about. Back in my day if I’d written a letter confirming my “crime” of violating another countries territory when my government said otherwise, at the very least that would have been the end of my naval career if I came home with all my fingernails still in place.

    Iran is a nation, not a terrorist organisation. Let them put a few telegenic marks on their faces if they dare. When you take the shilling, your job is to stand up for Queen and Country, not “find the easy way out” if you get caprured. When you follow the profession of arms, you’re in the death business and it’s a great mistake to ever forget that.

    If someone hasn’t got what it takes for that, it would be better for all concerned if they pursued a career with Tescos rather than volunteering for the Royal Navy.

  • veryretired

    I will not attempt to pretend I can understand the fear and pressure these captives are enduring. Pa said the rest of what I think just fine.

    In this case, judge not, lest you be judged.

  • Jesus, if this is the state of understand of what sort of commitment a person needs to make when they take up arms for their country, we are in a great deal of trouble.

    Every time I picked up a handset and my words sent a 4.5 inch shell somewhere that ended some people’s lives, something I did on several occasions, I was prepared to be judged. That is what it means to be in the navy. You are judged by your actions and that is how you judge others. Taking the easy option when you are captured is not admirable and I have no problem judging someone who chooses to join the navy on that basis. I’m not saying its a hanging offence but it is not admirable.

  • Jso

    If we had our forces in the middle of Iran right now, dismantling their military, then this would be a bigger problem. A captured soldier in that situation would be risking many others lives by not resisting during an interrogation. In comparison (in bold there!), this (current situation) isn’t as bad. I think we are just more worried about what could happen if we were at war with Iran and our captured forces were spilling important strategic information as the battles rage.

  • Jso

    I just realized something else I should add.

    This is far less of a military victory for Iran. However, it is a hugely important media victory. They probably didn’t get any important information from their prisoners, but they showed the world that they can kidnap anyone they want and get away with it, and then use our own media to display our weakness.

    I’m not sure if “kidnap” is a suitable word relating to capturing an armed force or whatever, but the point is Iran is showing off their capability, flexing their military muscle, at the entire world by intercepting and capturing soldiers from another country. It is similar to all the jihadi videos of beheadings on al-jazera, it is a message from followers of the islamic faith not to mess with terrorists or they will come and get you and do this or that to you and then video tape it.

  • Old Jack Tar: please keep in mind that I am in no disagreement with you, when I say that the word “old” in your nickname sounds very apt indeed:-| Like I said on another thread: times have changed. For anyone who might call me an armchair warrior: fair enough, but I do refer you to Jso’s last comment.

  • I just wonder what is it the western media hopes they will get from allowing themselves to be used as Iran’s PR wing and betraying their own countrymen and civilization? Bastards.

  • Nick M

    I don’t care about obviously bogus confessions because they are obviously bogus.

    I would care if one of them had ‘fessed up how a particular missile system or radar worked.

    Everyone knows this is nonsense apart from the brainwashed members of the Umma who would believe any old pony regardless. I would much rather our military went along with this crude and pointless propaganda than face the blow-torch and pliers.

    The technique of bogus confessions is as old as the hills and as unsophisticated as the bronze-age. Everyone with a brain knows it for what it is and all it does is show that the Iranian Republican Guard are the backward bunch of zealots that we always suspected them to be.

    Apart from anything it shows that this act of piracy was a blatantly politically motivated staged incident. If they had resisted do you think we’d get to hear of it?

  • And what happened to question marks?

  • Wearing the scarf, as well as her demeanur on the video was what option she had of screaming “Duress”!

    If no one cares to listen, the blame does not fall on her. As for me, I get the point. The MSM and the useful idiots would not have cared a whit if she’d been raped, tortured or killed anyway, so I really think she made the right call. Alive, she may one day have a story to tell. Not that anyone will listen… :(

    If the UK government, or for that matter the press, focused on the relevant issue, the problem would go away, or rather would never have occured in the first place.

    The relevant issue is this: “Is it really the intention of the Republic of Iran that Jus in Bello, specifically the Hague and Geneva conventions etc, shall not be considered relevant by the belligerent parties in present and forthcoming actions between the Iranian Republic and Great Britain?”

    If the MSM focused on this, the problem would not exist. But they will not, and the irony is that this is the very reason for the whole incident.

  • Richard Carey

    If the guidance is to allow yourself to be used for propaganda purposes, then the guidance is wrong. It should certainly be name rank and number and no more. These are miltary personnel, not tourists.

  • For those who don’t know, just look up (Link) (at least for the US military). While not so much for enlisted training, Officer Candidate School for the USMC required the memorization of the 6 articles. The main idea is to provide the enemy with nothing they can use as propaganda or intel and to delay….and delay…and delay some more.

  • J.M. Heinrichs

    From the “Conduct after Capture” Handbook:

    1. When questioned, you are required to give only your:
    a. Name in full;
    b. Rank;
    c. Service Number; and
    d. Date of Birth.

    2. If questioned further you may give your:
    a. Blood Group; and
    b. Religion.

    3. In addition to this information, the senior PW (or in the case of camps with an elected representative,
    the PW representative) is authorized to communicate with the enemy on the subjects of health/welfare,
    grievances and camp administration. You may also complete the Geneva Conventions “capture card.”
    Resist giving other information, directly or indirectly, to the utmost of your ability.

    and:

    3. Members shall not accept special favours or privileges not given to other PWs in return for
    statements or information desired by the enemy or for a pledge by the PW not to attempt escape. Moreover,
    the member shall not seek special privileges or accept special favours at the expense of fellow PWs.

    4. Examples of statements or actions PWs should resist include the following:
    a. giving oral or written confessions;
    b. answering questionnaires;
    c. providing personal history statements;
    d. making propaganda recordings and broadcast appeals to other PWs to comply with improper captor
    demands;
    e. appealing for Canada or our allies to surrender;
    f. engaging in self-criticisms; or
    g. providing oral or written statements on behalf of the enemy or that are harmful to Canada, our allies or other PWs.

    Thus sayeth the Canadian Forces.

    Cheers

  • orcadrvr

    I am starting to understand. Don’t resist capture, it is futile and provocative. A rescue attempt is difficult, probably impossible, as well as being both futile and provocative. Refusing to be used as a propoganda tool is, of course, provocative, futile, impossible, difficult, and hopeless. Declaring war on Iran, for this or any one of a myriad of reasons, is impossible futile provocative useless hopeless counterproductive.
    There is nothing that can be done, ever. It is, as usual, the wrong time, the wrong battle, the wrong opponent. It will only provoke greater enmity from the people who are currently trying to murder us.

  • Julian Taylor

    I’m not sure if “kidnap” is a suitable word

    Don’t know what word IS suitable then for a sovereign nation to order its troops to capture men and women of another nation on a very suspect national demarcation line in the middle of an international waterway. Piracy might be another word for it.

  • Julian Taylor

    Additionally it now transpires that the Iranians had crossed over 1.7 miles into Iraqi waters to seize the RN personnel so that indeed is an act of piracy – one of the few offences we had left on our statute book that carried the death sentence until Tony Blair came to power.

    With the 25th anniversary of the Falklands War nigh one wonders what would have happened had Blair been in power instead of Thatcher. I can only presume that there would be a number of spanish-speaking crofters now in the Falklands and and Galtieri would probably still be in power in Argentina.

  • Old Jack Tar;
    Iran is a terrorist organisation, not a nation, actually.
    The first act of the terrorist is always to induce surrender without a fight.
    They did in in the Lebanon Multiple Hijacking in the 70′s, they did it on Achille Lauro in the 80′s, they did it to the twin towers airliners on 9/11 and they did it last week to the patrol.
    The patrol was evidently surrounded by six MGBs(or the terrorist equivalent).
    Not to have seen that coming, with a warship and helicopter nearby is just bloody incompetent and the Captain should be relieved of his command.
    Hell, even I cross the road if I see six big thugs making menacing and meaningful moves.
    It’s just a total lack of sense, and that comes from a total lack of purpose, and that(in a military) comes from a total lack of meaningful leadership.
    Which comes from the top.

    What did Blair say today?
    “I don’t want conflict with Iran.”
    No shit Einstein.
    Do you think the Iranians have cottoned on to that yet?

  • wizbor

    I do not know how well these soldiers were trained but after seeing the letter written home, it seemed to use unusual wording for basic comments which leads me to believe they are taking the opportunity to communicate with commanders at home, not just mother.

  • Patrick Donnelly

    This is the POW code for the United States Military. Her actions would not be acceptable under it. Not sure about the Brits.

    Yes, she has shamed her nation and the branch of the military she serves. That much is clear. I imagine we’ll eventually find out how much stress she was under, exactly, when she decided to.

    “ARTICLE I.

    I am an American, fighting in the forces which guard my country and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense.

    ARTICLE II.

    I will never surrender of my own free will. If in command, I will never surrender the members of my command while they still have the means to resist.

    ARTICLE III.

    If I am captured, I will continue to resist by all means available. I will make every effort to escape and aid others to escape. I will accept neither parole nor special favors from the enemy.

    ARTICLE IV.

    If I become a prisoner of war, I will keep faith with my fellow prisoners. I will give no information or take part in any action which might be harmful to my comrades. If I am senior, I will take command. If not, I will obey the lawful orders of those appointed over me and will back them up in every way.

    ARTICLE V.

    When questioned, should I become a prisoner of war, I am required to give name, rank, service number, and date of birth. I will evade answering further questions to the utmost of my ability. I will make no oral or written statements disloyal to my country and its allies or harmful to their cause.

    ARTICLE VI.

    I will never forget that I am an American, fighting for freedom, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made my country free. I will trust in my God and in the United States of America.”

  • Interrogation of uniformed military personnell is srictly forbidden under international law. Therefore, if I were captured, I’d know that anything that I care to admit is null and void.

  • Giles

    On thing thats crossed my mind recently is what has happened to Alan Johnson the BBC presenter kidnapped in the Gaza. It wouldnt be entirely unlikely that Hamas/Iran kidnapped him in preparation for this and that their demand is say – favorable coverage.

    We havent heard anything about the kidnapers demand from the bbc which is I think a little strange on not entirely inconsistent with the thesis of non monetary demands being made.

  • Paul Marks

    The Iranian regime has been at war with the West since 1979. They will not rest till the West is either exterminated or enslaved – especially the “Great Satan” (the United States) and the “Little Satan” (the United Kingdom).

    If the civilian British government and the military do not know the above, they should know – simple as that. The attack on the American embassy (carried out by the current President of Iran) and the endless support for international terrorism (Sunni groups and well as Shia groups – even when the Sunni groups kill Shia as well as Westerners) supported by all the leadership (including the Supreme Leader and the Council of Guardians) are hardly great secrets.

    The support for attacks on British (and American) forces in Iraq (over the last several years) is only one case among many (in many countries).

    In the face of all of this, H.M.S. Cornwall did not keep a watch on the boats it sent out (only a few miles from a hostile power). And the 15 Royal Navy and Royal Marines people gave up without fireing a shot – and have now, in some cases, (it seems) given in to the threats of their captors. There is (of course) no “violation of Iranian waters”, the Iranians themselves first gave a G.P.S. position that put the 15 in the waters of Iraq – it was only two days later that the Iranians started to give a false position for the 15 people they had abducted.

    On the actions of the 15 – not resisting abduction and then (in some cases) giving in to the threats of their captors:

    “But that is what they were trained to do”. Then their training is wrong. One should not allow oneself to be taken alive by an enemy that opposes the very existance of one’s country, indeed of the West in general, and if one is taken alive one should not cooperate with the enemy in any way.

    “You would not act well”.

    Perhaps I would not fight, and perhaps I would fall apart if I was captured.

    But my faults are no excuse for anyone else. Perhaps these captured people are good sailors and marines who wanted to fight and who wanted not to give in to their captors – but are acting under orders given to them from on high.

    If this is the case the people who are to blame are the military and civilian authorities responsible for these orders.

  • not the Alex above

    I haven’t got a copy here with me but in Bravo Two Zero, it says the SAS where told not to play the ‘Hard’ man as it was futile and they’d get what they wanted anyway.

    Best to string the enemy along with a cover story for as long as possible so as to make sure you don’t put fellow comrades in danger.

    everyone cracks eventually – isn’t that the reasons for the sending terrorists to places like Egypt for ‘questioning’?

  • The Elohim

    ARTICLE II.

    I will never surrender of my own free will.

    If in command, I will never surrender the members of my command while they still have the means to resist.

    ARTICLE V.

    …I will make no oral or written statements disloyal to my country and its allies or harmful to their cause.

    ..this should be an absolute for any military.

  • Pa Annoyed

    Perhaps I should clarify that I do believe there are circumstances where resistance to the death is appropriate, when the stakes are high enough. But the various oaths people are quoting are meant to apply to the most extreme of them. Our current conflict with Iran is not yet at the level of ‘total war’, so the ‘coming home with your shield or on it’ attitude isn’t a sensible use of military resources. A trained soldier is an extremely expensive asset – it helps our side a lot more for them to live to fight another day than to die over a meaningless propaganda concession. It would be like getting yourself shot by refusing to tell them the time out of principle.

    If they were engaged on a mission to destroy Iran’s nuclear capabilities, and the mission’s success depended on some of them dying, then I would expect them to die. If the propaganda coup had a real prospect of turning the war in the enemy’s favour, then I would expect them to resist. If the information they were asked for would put our people’s lives or our military advantage at risk, I would expect them to stay silent.

    But the stakes aren’t that high. Not even the lefty media is talking as if this confession-with-a-gun-pointed-at-their-heads could conceivably be considered genuine evidence of British wrongdoing. Quite frankly, I doubt even the Muslims are very impressed, as familiar as they are with Taqiya. It is a nominal face-saver on Iran’s part.

    If we made a big deal out of never cooperating, then anyone who was forced to cooperate would cause a lot of damage. But if we make it clear it doesn’t mean anything, if we make a joke out of it, the tactic is quite effectively countered and there is no point in them even trying. Which saves our guys a lot of grief.

    I don’t know whose bright idea it was, but I think the Iranian who thought this up is probably in a lot of trouble by now, as the Iranians have quite thoroughly screwed themselves over this. They’ve got half of the previously dhimmified Britain calling for them to be turned into a glass car park (I think if they shot the 15 even Tony would be able to sell us another war), they’re legally up the creek without a paddle, with no non-laughable case whatsoever, and so they’ve now got little choice but to go totally outlaw immediately and thereby justify all sorts of inconvenient international nastiness (which they’re not ready for yet, and even if they were would mean starting off at a PR disadvantage) or to back down and just let them go. And they’re desperate for any face-saving straw they can clutch.
    The Iranians might just be desperate enough to think so, but gunpoint confessions on state-controlled TV aren’t going to save their image.

  • Nick M

    Oh for Gawd’s sake! Some of you are sounding like the 1st Battalion Jane’s Fighting Armchairs.

    They were ambushed and it was neither the time nor the place for a glorious last stand.

    They have subsequently gone along with their captors wishes. Well of course they have. Do you think Iran has gained anything from this patheticly incompetent display?

    As I said earlier. I doubt they have either divulged anything useful to the Iranians operationally. I know full well that Leading Seaman Tunrey’s statements have achieved less than zero for Iran in terms of propaganda because the only people who believe this shit are Islamist nut-jobs already.

    This whole incident is already showing an indecisiveness (division?) within the Iranian leadership.

    I bet a lot of them wish the RGs hadn’t done it in the first place.

  • TPS

    It does seem that there has been a definite trend to lionize mediocre performance as well as outright incompetence in combat and dress it up as heroism. The actions of the American soldiers on the Macedonian border as well as, to a lesser degree, the Jessica Lynch circus come to mind. Then again, public criticism perhaps adds to the enemy’s propaganda efforts.

    Several commentators have stated that this is crude propaganda and that western audiences are not susceptible to it. This may be true, but had it occurred to them that they may not be the primary target audience?

    While I dislike criticizing the actions of people on the ground without more information, it does seem that this predicament could have been avoided, and that this is a systematic failure from the top down.

    I would like to know Bombadil’s source for the supposed US guidelines. I completed advanced SERE training in the 90’s and have only recently left the military. If we have officially abandoned the Code of Conduct in favor of sniveling cooperation, then it is completely shocking news to me.

  • Deborah Krongard

    With much respect to Old Jack Tar and some of the commenters here, I think the problem many speculating here have is that they have no idea what had gone on before this episode, or was going on off camera. The POW guidelines listed above are just that, guidelines to aspire to as best you can as while a POW. But we don’t know, for example, if while she was being told to read this statement the Iranians were holding one of her fellow sailors off camera with a gun to his head and telling her they would shoot him if she didn’t play along! We don’t know if they might have tortured one of her fellow prisoners in front of her right before this and told her they would do it again if she didn’t play along. In short, many are speculating on a situation you truly know virtually nothing about. I attended SERE school while in the U.S. Navy, and yes, they want you to resist giving up info as much as possible, and especially things that can be used as propaganda, but they would not tell you to allow a fellow prisoner to be killed for the sake of a statement that, as many have pointed out, we all know is bogus. The point, again, is this – let’s wait until they hopefully get released, get the real story, and then decide if she did or did not do the right thing. Right now it is simply unfair and ignorant to making such proclamations.

  • sere survivor

    Hate to tell you armchair warriors, but Pa Annoyed has it right. Having gone through POW training in the Navy, the basic instruction to US military personnel is don’t get killed or maimed by trying to “resist.” They’ll always get it out of you. Now, that doesn’t mean you offer it up, but if they threaten to beat you up or kill you, give them something. This is the lesson from Vietnam. Many very good men got themselves killed there by refusing to say anything. Honorable, yes, but ultimately futile. This comes from the experience of outstanding men like John McCain and Admiral Stockdale who all eventually “confessed” to war crimes.

  • Shelby

    Responding to the initial post:

    From the US, my first thought on hearing about the broadcast of Turney was, “how on earth could she be so stupid?” And how could the other sailors and marines let this happen? Who was in command?

    I’m sympathetic to her situation, but my god, surely the RN trains people in what to do when captured. I don’t know exactly what her situation is but, short of heavy application of mind-altering substances I can’t imagine an excuse for saying “obviously we trespassed.”

    And the British press is lionizing her? Good god, if you’re not using the memory and legacy of Lord Nelson, can I have him?

  • The Secretary of Stae for Health,Patrica Hewitt,said today “The pictures showing the woman hostage were a disgrace,pictures of servicepersonnel smoking sent all the wrong messages to young people

  • Bruce

    If Jackie Fisher could see this, he would never, ever stop vomiting.

  • Hate to tell you armchair warriors

    Four decades in the Royal Navy if you must know.

    And there is nothing futile about being honourable.

    If I was a betting man, I would lay money on Faye Turney not having had a finger laid on her thus far. Psychological pressure only. Contrary to the claims made earlier, Iran is not a terrorist organisation and we are not formally at war with them and that means the Iranians are doing this purely for political advantage.

    The Armilla patrol is not exactly unknown to me. If the boarding party were properly briefed, the scope for serious psychological pressure within the framework of the current political realities is not that great. The Iranians are not so politically foolish to make themselves look like savages by inflicting physical harm on them.

  • D

    I looked up Admiral James Stockdale.

    On a mission over North Vietnam on September 9, 1965, Stockdale ejected from his A-4E Skyhawk, which had been disabled from anti-aircraft fire. Stockdale parachuted into a small village, where he was severely beaten and taken into custody. He was held as a prisoner of war in the Hoa Lo prison for the next seven years. Locked in leg irons in a bath stall, he was routinely tortured and beaten. When told by his captors that he was to be paraded in public, Stockdale slit his scalp with a razor to purposely disfigure himself so that his captors could not use him as propaganda. When they covered his head with a hat, Stockdale beat himself with a stool until his face was swollen beyond recognition. He told them in no uncertain terms that they would never use him. When Stockdale heard that other prisoners were dying under the torture, he slit his wrists and told them that he preferred death to submission.

    After his release, he filed charges against two officers whom he felt had given aid and comfort to the enemy. Even though he could not walk or stand after his release, he was kept on active duty.

    Senator McCain was tortured and signed one statement:

    McCain signed an anti-American propaganda message which was written in Vietnamese, but only as a result of rigorous and brutal torture methods, which to this day have left him incapable of raising his arms above his head. According to McCain, signing the propaganda message is something he most regrets during his time as a POW. After McCain signed the statement, the Vietnamese decided they could not use it. They tried to force him to sign a second statement, and this time he refused. He received two to three beatings per week because of his continued refusal.

    In defence of the lady, in this situation, we don’t know if she was threatened with rape, or actually raped. I recall that American female POW’s have been raped in the past.

    I’ve never served, and don’t feel I can truly question others in this situation.

  • AST

    Assuming Bombadil is correct, why do we care at all about the Geneva Contraptions? Somewhere I heard that Iran tried this stunt against American sailors but they opened fire and drove them off.

    This is the ultimate end of a pacifist, politically correct mentality. Iran is counting on Britain to blame itself and pressure us to release the Iranians captured in Iraq, along with an abject apology. They should respond with bombs and torpedoes. The U.N. should be authorizing military sanctions right now, but it won’t because it’s weaker and more wimpy than the U.K. and the E.U. put together.

    Is this the “international community” whose opinion we’re so worried about? They’re pretty weak tea. It’s like worrying about what the world’s hamster population thinks of us. If the West doesn’t sober up, they’re going to be facing a nuclear Iran before they know what happened. This is the Munich of the new century, and the Mullahs are the modern Hitler.

  • obijohn

    What Tony Blair needs to do is to issue an ultimatum: give us our people back within X hours, or prepare to face the full wrath and fury of the British Military.

    As an ex-serviceman, I understood that once I donned the uniform and swore the oath, my country’s priorities rose above my own. According to the UCMJ I am not allowed to give aid and comfort to the enemy despite their efforts, and I am supposed to resist to the best of my ability.

    I wouldn’t be wearing the scarf, or writing the letters. If I was being filmed, I’d do something so that it would be easily recognized that I was acting against my will. And, I’d also realize that once captured my life was forfeit… my country would try to recover me but not at the expense of national prestige.

    What the Iranians don’t seem to understand is that attacking another country’s military is an act of war. They need to be made to pay a price for this. I’m sure the Royal Navy is planning all sorts of retaliatory raids on Iranian infrastructure and facilities that are way out of proportion in terms of lives and property to what the Iranians have snatched. If they don’t make the deadline, then unleash Hell.

  • Bruce

    What seems to me missing from these comments is an appreciation that the Iranians are not morons or fools. Their purpose in this nasty little parade is not to communicate with us in the West, but to communicate with their fellow Islamists.
    And the message they are sending is quite clear: We are powerful. We can capture the forces of a big power like Britain with impunity. And we can subjugate them to our will by making them do things like wear a burka, confess their error, and beg our forgiveness. Islam is powerful!

    Having never been in this kind of situation, I will not judge the behavior of the captives. But, it is certainly foolish to dismiss their conduct as harmless or insignificant.

    Of course, we’ve all been through this drill . . . in 1979 and we will continue to go through it with these people and others until we are willing to adopt the view that the authors of successful military campaigns (including the Allies in World War 2) had — that troops, or our short-term economic well-being (by avoiding an interruption in the supply of oil) are expendable.

    It always seemed to me in 1979 that the Carter administration’s dramatization of the situation, aided considerably by the U.S. news media, simply served to prolong the crisis. If we could truly show that we were indifferent to their individual fates, then these hostages would have no value to Iran.

  • Ming the Merciless Siamese Cat

    If the lesson learned by the British military from James Stockdale’s years of heroic resistance, is to give it up like a cheap whore, then . . . hell, I’m at a loss for words.

  • Brad

    A few things here occur to me. How did they manage to sneak up on the Brits doing the inspection in the middle of the Persian Gulf? Who was the radar operator on the Brit ship, who was supposed to be looking out for these sailors welfare? Finally, how did a major Brit ship not blow these asshats out of the water before they ever came in contact with the sailors? I think it would be good policy from here on out that any Iranian Naval vessel that wanders even one inch out of Iranian territorial waters, gets it’s ass sunk to the bottom of the Gulf with all hands.

  • Hogarth

    Oh by all means, she should have gone to the mat for a Navy that stood by and let her be captured. Yep, nothing like a public suicide to say Thanks to the skipper that stood my like an emasculated fool while his people were carted away in international waters. There’s enough shame in this incident that pinning it all on the mother of a three year old daughter seems a bit tacky, doesn’t it?

    Oh, and by all means, she should have followed guidelines for capture that were written in a time when the capturer didn’t commonly behead prisoners with a dull knife and share video of the murder across the internet.

  • lucklucky

    I think the only solution for this is the capture of Iranian soldiers.

  • bdog57

    Death before dishonor.

    [Wait, these are Brits - "Death before dishonour" :) ]

    Seriously, though, I have four kids and I would rather return home to them in a pine box with my honor intact. This is shameful.

    Honestly, the Israeli soldiers haven’t been returned, have they? Of course not. From a purely practical standpoint, you can’t imagine that your odds of rescue are great.

    It is not the soldiers’ privelege to question whether the situation has “escalated” to the point of war. Capturing members of a sovereign nation’s armed forces is the very definition of “act of war”. Leave the politicking to the politicians and do your damned duty.

    Article II laid out the fact that if this had been the US Armed Forces there was a clear dereliction of duty by the CO. By all accounts, not even a shot was fired.

    Remember Fabrizio Quattrocchi.

  • Oh, and by all means, she should have followed guidelines for capture that were written in a time when the capturer didn’t commonly behead prisoners with a dull knife and share video of the murder across the internet.

    And the Iranian state has done this when exactly?

  • “Seaman Tunrey’s statements have achieved less than zero for Iran in terms of propaganda because the only people who believe this shit are Islamist nut-jobs already.”

    You haven’t seen the newspapers in Spain, then, and the millions of average Joes there who believe this stuff:

    Iran captured other Bristish military in 2004, who were freed after three days after apologizing in public and being shown blindfolded on Iranian TV.

    As written without quotes in a major daily.

  • Dave

    You have Tomahawks. We know, we sold them to you. Pick some Iranian spec-for/intel assets, and spend some rounds. What exactly is your government waiting for?

  • While we’re heaping approbrium, how about a little for the commander of the H.M.S. Cornwall, who did not come to the support of his sailors? How about a little for Tony Blair, who responded to this incident by saying “I don’t want conflict with Iran”? And how about just a little for the US? We should have kicked Iran’s ass up between their shoulder blades when they first took hostages back in1979.

    Seems to me that seaman Turney’s actions here are the very least of our problems. Back in the good old days when soldiers were expected to resist capture and resist making statements, their superiors were expected to support them, their government would have ordered the sinking a ship in Iran’s harbor every hour until those sailers were returned, and their allies would have supported them in that action. That’s not happening. That’s the real offense here.

  • Well now there was a time when the British sailors who surrendered would be facing much worse than a pat on the back when they got back. Course these days all of that sort of judgemental stuff is out of the window…now we feel their pain.

    Now we all simply sit around and wonder what it is we did wrong. Why do they hate us????

  • Zimri

    Flashman and D: She wasn’t threatened with rape. She *was* raped, symbolically.

    Bruce has it right. That hijab, followed by the Palestinian headscarf, was all about showing Islamic Man’s domination over timid, infidel Western Woman.

    And it’s what those folks have in store for your daughters. Hell, it’s what they’re forcing on your daughters already if they’re poor and luckless enough to be stuck in a majority-Muslim banlieu.

  • OldflyerBob

    I just want to comment on SERESurvivors post, as one who also experienced SERE (Surivival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape) Training. As an aside some of the treatment is SERE school was rougher than what people are crying about Terrorists receiving now.

    Although the policies may well have changed as a result of Viet Nam, you are dead wrong about Admiral Stockdale, and probably about John McCain.

    Admiral Stockdale beat his own face to a bloody mess because he learned that the Vietnamese planned to film him for propaganda purposes. They did not dare film the result. Admiral Stockdale was the senior U.S. POW in Hanoi and he established an unbreakable command structure within the POW community. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor (the highest U.S. award for Valor) for his leadership under the most difficult circumstances. Despite genuine torture he never gave them crap. I don’t belive McCain did either.

    John McCain was noteworthy because his father was a very senior Admiral at the time of his imprisonment. Because of that the Vietnamese really wanted him to take an early release for propaganda purposes. Actually, they offered any prisoner an early release if they could be used for propaganda. Admiral Stockdale had established an ironclad standing- order that they would all go home together. McCain could not accept early release any more than any other officer could. He would have been court martialed if he had.

    The one exception was an enlisted man in Hanoi (I believe he was the only enlisted man held in the North, but am not certain of that) who was given dispensation to accept early release. In return he memorized the names of scores of POWs and was able to debrief U.S. authorities after he returned home on the status of a number of men who had been held incognito for years–a direct violation of the Genevea Convention. He did not want to leave early, but was ordered to, so that he could take the information back.

    I retired some years ago. I cannot speak of current U.S. policy, but that was the situation in Hanoi. No one gave up anything easily, and many gave them nothing.

  • SeaBee

    What the hell are women doing in the Navy anyway? It is painful enough to have females onboard ship, but the the RN sends her on a boarding party too?

    Her CO no doubt received sensitivity training and followed protocol by having a female in the group.

    The Iranians must have been grinning no end after seeing her.

    Bloody stupid allowing females in the Navy to begin with.

    And yes, if Blighty won’t have Lord Nelson, send him over here!

  • JLA

    I’m with the ex-RN. As a woman my first response when I saw the scarf was, “What are you doing???” There would have been a cat fight to get me to wear that scarf. (I notice they let her have bare arms, so so much for the Islamic purity there!) In truth, I cannot say what I would actually do when faced by her situation, but I really think she and perhaps some of the other sailors simply do not understand the goal of the Islamists.

    The reality is infidel women are fair game, so not much of how she was going to cooperate would have protected her. The Saddamist Iraqis raped Jessica Lynch and the female doctor (a Major?) shot down in DS.

    I expect announcements of “conversions” any day now.

    The Brits should not play nice with these guys, and neither should we.

  • T

    sere survivor,

    If that’s what they teach you squids I’m eternally grateful I went into the Army instead. Despite what Bombadil pulled out his 4th point, the Code of Conduct has not changed. Here’s a link(Link) to the US Army’s current training manual for the Code of Conduct and SERE. I don’t see “roll over and sign confessions” anywhere, do you? In fact, here’s the relevant passage:

    If captured, individual soldiers must live, act, and speak in a manner that leaves no doubt that they adhere to—
    (1) Traditions of the U.S. Army.
    (2) Their mission of resisting enemy attempts at interrogation, indoctrination, and other exploitation.
    d. Individual soldiers are held accountable for their actions even while isolated from friendly forces or while held by the enemy.

    Hmm. Doesn’t sit with your contention that people break eventually, so might as well give them what they want, does it? Now, I don’t know what the Brits policy is on this, so maybe they do tell the little troopies to roll over and play sub.

    I keep watching the degradation of the British military and I always think “lo, how the mighty have fallen.” It’s a shame, too, because the BAOR guys and the Royal Marines I met back in the late 80s and early 90s were some stand-up troops. Too bad they have a government that doesn’t care anymore.

  • Vietnam taught us a lot of things. One was that we leaked intelligence from every pore. Our security actually relied on prisoners keeping their mouths shut because everyone, including the lady who did the laundry, knew everything. And I don’t think it disrespects the incredible things that people did resisting years of torture and abuse while they refused to make statements or confessions to look at the assumptions and situation then and say there was something wrong with it.

    Security wise, we do what we can to make sure that captured soldiers don’t have current and vital information. Propaganda wise we rightly chose to consider all confessions and statements made to be made under duress.

    I’m not sure what everyone expects the British sailors to do. Is England at war with Iran? If it were Americans in Iraq I’d expect it wouldn’t be “death before dishonor” it would be “save the last bullet for yourself”. But it’s Iran and it’s stupid and internationally embarrassing and all but I really don’t think that those sailors should be criticized for failing to start a shooting war with Iran when their commander didn’t do it.

    And if Americans in a similar situation fired on Iranian ships and drove them off, it’s because they had standing orders to do so. If the English didn’t, it’s because they did *not* have standing orders to do so.

    Put the blame where it belongs and give the sailors who were implicitly (if not actually explicitly) told to cooperate and not fight back a little bit of slack.

  • Greifer

    I think you should assume she’s terrfied for her life or the lives of her fellow shpimates.

    would i have the courage to die for my country? my religion? i hope so, but i don’t know, and I will not castigate this woman for being tortured and manipulated. she’s a prisoner being tortured. that’s all you need to know. find it in your heart to believe that she resisted, and they made her wear the headscarf under penalty of killing one of her shpimates.

    the evil monsters here are the iranians doing this. stop blaming the victims.

  • Adam

    What a farce.

    The episode demonstrates why the west is losing to the Islamists. That is right – losing.

    It iis an info war. Who honestlty thinks the Iranians produced that video for you and me? It is for the Islamic audience – they are demonstrating how they can dictate events while showing westerners to be weak.

    If we (the west) were remotely interested in prevailing over the Islamicisation of this planet, we would pause and realize that this sailor is handing Iran victory after victory and buying time for a rotten regime to gain the capacity to build and maintain a nuclear arsenal.

    Then when they kidnap westerners and manipulate events to prove they (the Shia fundamentalists) hold more sway than the Wahhabis, the ante will be much higher to shut them down.

    30 years hence people will wonder why there wasn’t a swift and meaningful military response to this, the latest in an endless stream of provocations.

  • holdfast

    I am no hero, but I spent enough years in uniform that I gave the question of capture and torrture some thought. If you are really being put through the wringer, the best hope may be to evade and delay until any intel you give up has lost its tactical utility due to the passage of time. As for making statements helpful to the enemy or wearing islamic garb, I’m sure they could make me do it eventually, but fo damn sure I’d have at least a shiner (inflicted by a buddy or a doorknob if necessary) to show I wasn’t going along willingly. Nobody expects every joe to be superman, but you don’t give it up like a two-bit tart either.

    As to the issue of the potential rape of the femail sailor, well that makes a great argument against women serving in harm’s way, pace NOW, et al. At least keep her on the bloody big ship when sailing in islamic waters. Here the precedent will be that because women have this “unique” vulnerability, the rules of conduct don’t apply to them. Lovely.

  • Eric Anondson

    What, precisely, were the ROE? And if the British Military crafted them such that capture as has happened was inevitable under the circumstances, why should we at all rail against the marines for submitting as they have. If they were following the ROE all along should the ire be directed at the military brass who crafted it and the politicians who were pleased with it?

    I mean, if the ROE led to this, why criticise the marines for actually following it through? What were their orders for when the Iranians sailed on over to their position?

  • Adam

    Let me add this -

    There is a grotesque preassumption operating throughout many of these posts. Many of you are excusing this sailor because she is a woman. How sexist.

    I know that military oaths in the US armed forces are the same for service members regardless of the composition of their genitals. Furthermore, I served with many women who could suck it up and bear hardship for their country.

    Maybe the UK maintains a different cultural standard for women, but an oath is an oath. Don’t serve if you don’t have the intestinal fortitude to do it well. No slack cut for gender.

  • GAP

    As a matter of fact, times have changed. I am a graduate of the US Navy SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape) program and taught Code of Conduct to junior Marines. Up until the Korean conflict the though was to be just as old jack put it. Name rank and SSN only. Otherwise you are considered a traitor. During the Korean conflict they found a huge increase in the number of captured servicemen that “defected”. In studying things after the war they came up with the “Code of Conduct”:

    http://www.silent-warriors.com/code_of_conduct.html

    Knowing that all others are abiding by the code helps to stay faithful. Another and more important part is that service men and women are trained to understand that everyone has a cracking point (if you don’t believe me, try being water-boarded some time and see how long you last). What happened in Korea is that people were so humiliated by what they percieved to be their personal weakness in craking, that it was mentally easier to defect than face those you thought you had betrayed.
    The idea is that you resist as best you can (by all means do not lie) and if you do crack, contain it and let the others know when you get back what happened. They will understand and take you in and in a way help to re-habilitate you.
    After adopting this policy the number of defections went down drasticly.
    It has nothing to do with being weak!

  • Alice

    Little bit of history — 1739, War of Jenkins’s Ear.

    A british seaman — the eponymous Jenkins — had his ear amputated after suffering injury in a bar-room brawl in Spanish-controlled Havana. Britain went to war with Spain.

    Kind of makes one long for the old days, when British men & ships both had hearts of oak. I suspect that the hearts of oak are still there. The problem with the wooden heads.

  • Our training was : hold out for 24 hours. By that time, the tactical value of the intel would be severely degraded. Lie through your teeth. You’ll end up telling the truth, but if you’ve mixed truth and lie from the start, they won’t know what’s what.
    But the only way you can be gotten out alive is for you to be alive to be gotten out. That means co-operation, preferably letting them write the letters so there are gramatical errors and clumsy constructions. “I am getting plenty of fodder and fluid”, that kind of thing.
    There are also covert means of communication, but we don’t talk about those, and they change from year to year anyway. Everyone knows the “I am operating under duress” hand signal in use a few years ago, as everyone in a photo with Hillary Clinton was giving it.

  • holdfast – I’m told that rape is just as bad for men. And don’t be so naive to think our enemies wouldn’t do that.

    The point is, just look at the amount of harm that has been done to, say, UK morale by these pictutes. I’d say… none. Counterproductive. Even counterproductive in the Arab world too.

  • But it’s Iran and it’s stupid and internationally embarrassing and all but I really don’t think that those sailors should be criticized for failing to start a shooting war with Iran when their commander didn’t do it.

    What a marvelous reversal of reality. The Iranians threaten and then capture the British but according to this person had the British fired on the Iranians it would have been the British who would have bore the blame for starting the war. My gosh is this what they teach in school?

    We are lost….the only way we might actually win this war is for the Jihadists to launch a massive attack against the West and I simply do not believe they are that stupid. All they need do is bid their time and folks like the commenter above will simply hand them the keys to the kingdom.

  • wlpeak

    Where to start.

    This kind of story sets women back decades in the Military.
    It portrays them as fundamentally insincere people, either clueless to the dangers of their commitments or weaklings, victims.

    This is how journalists see her, as if this women had a night job in the bad side of town and got robbed. What do you expect her to do? No job is worth loosing your life for.

    War is a celebrity scandal by other means. Look pictures!

    The truth is that there are plenty of rock steady women fighting today in our military. They win awards for valor and they die. Rarely do they ever get reported except on the ‘conservative’ milblogs.

    So I have to ask the ‘Left’, what was the point in fighting to get women into the military academies if you then treat them differently then men? Oh yes, politics. Score some points. High five all around.

    Question: When do you know your culture has become decadent?
    Answer: When it no longer knows how to defend itself.

    I always wondered if during that long decline of the Roman Empire, at what point the people could finally look and see the rot that is so clear to us today. It is obvious that though rich and powerful at some point they lost the ability to defend themselves from the rabble around them. Why? When?

    Did they sound like we do today. Did they love a good barb over a good battle. Did they loathe the soldiers who kept the rapists out? Did they know they were condemning themselves? Oh well. Forfeit Game over.

    They fell and only the Christians were left.
    What will we leave? Tapes of the Daily Show?


    The fundamental failure of our educational system is this. That it forgot that it is the winners of wars that write the history books not the winners of scholarships.

  • TPS

    Deborah and “Sere Survivor” (got a chuckle out of your moniker), I attended the US Navy course. If “roll over and cooperate” is what you took away from your time there, then you need remedial training. I did notice at my time there that, for many of the Naval Aviation personnel, it was the most horrific experience of their entire lives. They were so completely out of their element, that I am sure some of them suffer PTSD as a result. I am not going to comment further on the course, since last time I remember, it was classified, or has that changed too?

    As I was thinking about this post, another example came to mind. Remember the Hainan Island incident? I remember thinking at the time that they took the easy way out. Ditching in the ocean is a scary proposition, but that would have ensured that Chinese TECHINT teams would have had a lot more difficulty. “Save your own skin above all else” is not in the Code of Conduct.

    Old Flyer Bob: I must admit, I found the outcry over Abu Graib and Camp X-Ray rather silly after having been through SERE. It reminded me that we are not the only ones who provide our personnel with this type of training.

    Bruce: “Their purpose in this nasty little parade is not to communicate with us in the West, but to communicate with their fellow Islamists.” This is what I was alluding to when I said that westerners may not be the primary target audience.

    GAP: “…everyone has a cracking point… The idea is that you resist as best you can”. Of course, that is not the point. Do you suppose that these troops reached their cracking point, or are resisting to the utmost of their ability? I can’t say for sure, but I tend to doubt it. I think you need remedial training, too. There is something a bit disturbing about this philosophy that you should just spill your guts right away to spare yourself a beating or a physical discomfort. “It has nothing to do with being weak!” Sorry, but it has everything to do with that. Go back and re-read the Code of Conduct. Pay particular attention to Article V.

    I agree with Old Jack Tar. The lack of commitment is appalling.

  • Old Jack Tar, and possibly Perry DH,
    terrorist states are terrorist organisations.
    Mustn’t forget that Imperial Germany invented terrorism as a state policy, and the first use was in Belgium in 1914(also the Ecstacy drug, ditto).
    Since when terrorism has been the first practice of any organisation with ambitions to be regarded as a state.
    How many states have grown from the barrel of a terrorist’s gun in the last 100 years, Israel included(remember Irgun)?

  • No, Pietr, you are making a category error as well as a key error in the nature of these two things.

    A state may use terror as a policy but the important difference here is that its actions all come with a return address to which consequences can be ‘sent’. Al Qaeda (for example) has no such clear return address because Al Qaeda is not a state, it is a dispersed terrorist organisation. The difference is not unimportant. Iran will not torture the British sailors (unless then are completely crazy and politically foolish, which is always possible though not very likely) because they have oil facilities and government buildings that can be bombed in retaliation. Al Qaeda does not.

  • bandit

    Iran is a nation, not a terrorist organisation.

    In what sense?

  • Nick M

    1st Battalion Jane’s Fighting Armchairs! I was wrong. SD appears to have attracted the entire division.

    One commentator said that he’d “given much thought” to what he’d do in similar circumstances. Well, here’s my 2p on the subject. I might resist (frankly I don’t know) but if I did it would be out of anger and hatred rather than following military protocols.

    Faye Turney et al are kept in “humane and Islamic” conditions. This means for her “privacy” she was kept apart from the other 14. Oldest trick in the book – divide and conquer. It always works and it has nothing to do with gender. I seriously doubt they have given away any tactically useful intel.

    Propaganda? Well. I think it’s back-fired. As far as a lot of Brits are concerned this is making us absolutely hate the bastards (even more). It may well play nicely to the Islamist “street” that the IRI can caqpture two inflatable boats and 15 personnel from the “Little Satan” (You patronising uncle-fuckers) but doesn’t exulting over such a minor victory suggest weakness? I mean, it’s not like they sank the Tirpitz or something is it? The only people who believe this sort of shit are the kind of people who believe this sort of shit anyway and there is absolutely no reasoning with such Bertie Blunts.

    Hand-wringing over the humbling of the RN only plays into this perverted mindset. What worries me more are the current NuLab plans to “down-size” the Navy and the utterly bowdelerized Type-45 destroyer – no torpedos, no Harpoon, no Storm Shadow.

    We’re drawing down in Iraq. We have essentially a light(ish) force there. We are not currently in a position to yell blood-curdling threats at the mullahs short of a nuclear armageddon.

    Iran was once our “best mate” in the ME. It might be again. Their society is very divided and many of them are pro-Western. It would be a tragedy if we can’t utilise those forces within Iranian society to reform it.

    This is an info-war. Let’s start fighting it as such!

  • John G

    I wouldn’t accuse everyone involved at this point. From the limited coverage I’ve seen, out of the 15 I’ve only seen 5 or so. A majority of them may very well be resisting. A few may be dead already. We just don’t know enough.

  • David Jay

    bandit:

    How about “borders, language, culture” ?

  • Disgusted

    As ex-U.S. military, it is amazing to me that a Navy patrol surrender without firing a single shot in self-defense. Here, they could expect an Article 99 court martial when they returned.

    Cowards.

  • [Sigh] But wait! There’s more!

    “Britain exported over $700 million in goods to Iran last year and is one of their major trading partners.”

    Plenty of “Codes fo Conduct” for soldiers in the face of the enemy, but what do those codes say about conduct in the face of your trading partners? Do you shoot it out with your trading partners? Do you resist when your trading partners torture you? After all, we wouldn’t want a few mere sailers messing up relations with the trading partners, would we?

    Well, not to worry, I’m sure it will all be straightened out after Blair gives them a very patient talking to. That will show ‘em! I’m sure they’ll never treat their trading partners that way again.

    By the way, I understand that the Iranians are delighted with their new British aircraft which, among other things, can be used for coastal patrols and for “civilian skydiving training”.

    The sale, approved by the British government, comes at a time of heightened tensions between London and Tehran following Iran’s capture of 15 British Navy sailors and marines in the Gulf last week.

    Yessir! That must have been some harsh talking to. The only real question that remains is whether Blair was wearing the hijab when he gave it to them. At this point I wouldn’t bet against that.

  • bdog57

    It may well play nicely to the Islamist “street” that the IRI can caqpture two inflatable boats and 15 personnel from the “Little Satan”

    That would fall under “giving aid and comfort” to our enemies.

    What worries me more are the current NuLab plans to “down-size” the Navy and the utterly bowdelerized Type-45 destroyer – no torpedos, no Harpoon, no Storm Shadow.

    Agreed. 100%. Hopefully this incident illustrates the folly of such plans.

    We are not currently in a position to yell blood-curdling threats at the mullahs short of a nuclear armageddon.

    Ah, but nuclear armageddon is precisely what they have in mind for us. I figure a little bit of posturing on our side might actually do some good. The “strong horse” bit and all of that seems to play rather well in that neck of the woods, which leads me to…

    This is an info-war. Let’s start fighting it as such!

    Agreed. 10000%. We need to fight back not with just info, but propaganda of our own. I’d love to know more facts on the ground, but by all accounts we’re not doing so hot in this area. The enemy repeats the same lies over and over again until they have the ring of truth. We should at least be trying to counter such activity.

  • bdog57

    It may well play nicely to the Islamist “street” that the IRI can caqpture two inflatable boats and 15 personnel from the “Little Satan”

    That would fall under “giving aid and comfort” to our enemies.

    What worries me more are the current NuLab plans to “down-size” the Navy and the utterly bowdelerized Type-45 destroyer – no torpedos, no Harpoon, no Storm Shadow.

    Agreed. 100%. Hopefully this incident illustrates the folly of such plans.

    We are not currently in a position to yell blood-curdling threats at the mullahs short of a nuclear armageddon.

    Ah, but nuclear armageddon is precisely what they have in mind for us. I figure a little bit of posturing on our side might actually do some good. The “strong horse” bit and all of that seems to play rather well in that neck of the woods, which leads me to…

    This is an info-war. Let’s start fighting it as such!

    Agreed. 10000%. We need to fight back not with just info, but propaganda of our own. I’d love to know more facts on the ground, but by all accounts we’re not doing so hot in this area. The enemy repeats the same lies over and over again until they have the ring of truth. We should at least be trying to counter such activity.

  • Well blow me down! It appears that the Brits have frozen all business ties with Iran. Now if we’d all just get over this running to the Third World Dictator’s Club UN to ask permission to “deplore” this kind of behavior and, instead, give them some very painful reasons not to repeat it..

  • TPS

    This is an info-war. Let’s start fighting it as such!

    This is the whole point of the original post!

    Propaganda? Well. I think it’s back-fired. As far as a lot of Brits are concerned this is making us absolutely hate the bastards

    I doubt the Iranians lie awake at night worrying whether you love them or not. That is a pathology unique to the west.

    The only people who believe this sort of shit are the kind of people who believe this sort of shit anyway and there is absolutely no reasoning with such

    This is called “aid and comfort to the enemy”, and yes, there is little hope of reasoning with them. This is why a tepid response is unlikely to produce results.

    We’re drawing down in Iraq. We have essentially a light(ish) force there

    I’m not sure about UK forces, and I haven’t been keeping up with our order of battle in the region, but hasn’t the US deployed two carrier battle groups to the area? I don’t think this is a coincidence. I’m thinking along the lines of human shields.

    If this is 1st Battalion Jane’s Fighting Armchairs, then I humbly request an assignment at G3.

  • Megan

    I’m glad I found this post via Instapundit. As I watch the news reports on TV I keep wondering why the hell they’re saying anything at all! I mean, I can’t pretend to understand what they’re going through, but it doesn’t seem like they should be cooperating as they seem to be. Name, rank, serial number seems about all they SHOULD say. I recall some prisoners being ‘shown off’ by the N.Vietnamese and the captives flipping the bird as a sign of protest (which the N.V. didn’t understand). I’m all for that! Say what they want in a way that undermines their message. That to me is what a real military person should do.

  • Perry, I probably wasn’t making my point clearly because it was made on the fly; my point is that terrorism is now used by two-bit organisations to invert their way to statehood.
    Today Hamas and the PLO have an address.

  • John

    I am disgusted by some of the comments above – foolishness does not excuse such ill-considered criticism.
    As a Brit I am tremendously proud of the behaviour our captured serviceman. I think their conduct in front of the Iranian cameras has been exemplary. The comments of Old Jack Tar, on the other hand, are a total disgrace.
    The British government should make it perfectly clear that they encourage captured servicemen to comply with any propaganda requests made by their captors, and that no guilt or shame should be attached any of their alleged ‘confessions’ – moral judgement has no meaning in such a context.
    The response of British government, however, is open to debate. If this fiasco does not result in the mining of all Iranian ports at the very least, then we should withdraw all our servicemen from the Middle East immediately: we have already lost too many lives in Afghanistan and Iraq without risking even more in yet another pointless non-war with the Iranians.

  • Paul Marks

    Alex seems to think that the 15 needed a “cover story” – they did not, they were not in Iranian waters.

    Also there is demand that they be “hard men” – only that they do their duty, if they are allowed to do so by their orders.

    I may be the biggest coward in the world, but this does not mean anything. If a person joins the armed forces they must be prepared to get killed. If they are not prepared to get killed they should not join.

    Also (as said by others) where was H.M.S. Cornwall? Why were 15 people put only a few miles from a hostile power (the Iranian regime is openly dedicated to the destruction of such nations as the United Kingdom) when military forces were well known to be near by.

    I am not expecting a couple of rubber boats to fight off the Revolutionary Guard (or other Iranian forces) – but they should not have been put in that position.

    Still it remains the case that military people have often been put in bad situations and they have not always just given up (although I accept they may have been under standing orders to give up – in which case they should never have been sent to the Middle East).

    Excuse me if I get the following quotation wrong (it is from memory) , but it shows that other attitudes (whether right or wrong) are possible.

    “When you lie wounded on Afghan plains and the women come out to cut up what remains, you roll on your side and you blow out your brains and you go to your God like a soldier.”

    I strongly hope that no military people (or civilians either) are under orders to allow themselves to be taken alive in Afghanistan today.

    It is already known what happens to military people who have been taken alive in Iraq. Perhaps (horrible though it is) all people going to this part of the world should be shown be photographs, in order to help them understand that being careful not to be taken alive is not a “hard man” gesture, it is simple prudence.

    The above being said the 15 have a much better chance of survival in Iran than they would have in the hands of the various groups (both Shia and Sunni) that the Iranians support in Iraq.

  • J. Aitken

    John is just an example of the immature decadence that’s so deeply entrenched in western minds today. He not only sees nothing wrong with rolling on your belly, begging for mercy on TV and saying whatever your captors tell you to say, he thinks it should be state policy to tell the military to do that.

    I would be guessing that John hasn’t spent 5 minutes in uniform, unless he worked for McDonald’s that is. I spent a mere eight years in the TA (and as a result discovered Bosnia was the world’s coldest open air toilet) so I cannot compete with Old Jack Tar’s forty years in the Senior Service, but I agree with every word he wrote. The captured RM shown today all smiley and talkative did not even try to make it look like he was being coerced.

    More than anything I blame the officer in charge of the boarding party for not making it clear to these people what is expected of them if they find themselves in enemy hands, but this does not reflect well on anyone.

  • John is just an example of the immature decadence that’s so deeply entrenched in western minds today.

    That’s a little harsh and sweeping. In my view it is an example of the sort of views that spring from practical ignorance about such matters rather than immaturity or decadence.

    More than anything I blame the officer in charge of the boarding party for not making it clear to these people what is expected of them if they find themselves in enemy hands, but this does not reflect well on anyone

    Precisely.

  • Collin

    I am shipping out to basic in Fort Benning in 7 days. I understand that not everyone can deal with combat or the stresses of it. That’s part of the reason I volunteered. I also understand that I volunteered for something dangerous and possibly painful.

    There is something more important than avoiding pain and death. It is called honor.

    There are things worth dying for, fighting for, and resisting pain for. I hope I am strong enough not to make a total loser out of myself on Iranian State TV for the benefit of the people that are enemies of my country.

    I hope that the people that are not strong enough for that are weeded out in basic training as they could well get me killed.

    Giving the enemy a boost to morale and provoking/prolonging a fight increase the opportunities for me to get shot in the future. If Carter had turned large portions of Tehran into parking lots in 1979 these 15 soldiers wouldn’t have had the opportunity to “resist” such as they did.

  • NickM has covered much of what I would have said.

    I was not 1.7nm from Iran so I cannot say what really happened. What I have heard at the dispatch box suggests to me that trying to resist militarily would have been futile. Rt Hon Wllm Hague, MP did not take “Air Horse One” to task over it either, which says alot.

    What I know is, the Iranian regime is looking like a piratical mysogenistic junta. In the image of Mohammed, for sure. Like to see them with the bomb?

    The use of the headscarf was a way of rubbing it in. If there was a clear example of how the hijab is often NOT out of choice and IS a form of repression then this was it.

    The fact is the Marines were nabbed. Iran IS behaving like an utter shit and a bandit nation. It is all very good to moan about how we got here, but right now the issue is where to from now?

    To me it indicates very strongly that Iran IS worried about sanctions and is trying everything it can to deflect from that, make smoke and try and force an incident to absolve it from any “blame”.

    IMHO Britain should bypass the regime and make the Iranian people embarassed of their leaders for such uncivilised and clearly barbaric behaviour.

  • One thing to think about when dealing with hostage situations today is the pre and post 9/11 procedures for dealing with airplane highjackings.

    Prior to 9/11, the procedure for handling a highjacking was to basically give them the plane and deal with the demands once the plane was on the ground. Indeed, the 9/11 bastards knew this, and used it to their advantage so they could line up the planes on course for the terrible destruction.

    The procedures for dealing with this have now changed obviously.

    The lesson is and should always be- DO NOT NEGOTIATE WITH TERRORISTS. And this should apply whether they are state sponsored or not.

  • John

    The only people who are behaving dishonourably and giving a boost to enemy morale are the damned fools who report, disseminate, and uncritically discuss the honour and courage of those held captive; thereby unwittingly giving credence to enemy propaganda.
    It is people like Old Jack Tar who are stabbing our servicemen [and their families] in the back.
    I repeat, it should be the clear policy of both the government and the military, that captives held by the enemy can make any statements they choose with perfect equanimity: it matters not one iota if they appear on Iranian TV every night and with big, wide grins denounce the Queen as a whore. All such statements, by the very nature of the circumstances in which they are given, mean absolutely nothing.
    We have seen this sickening pantomime before, in Gulf War 1, the Falklands, Vietnam, Korea and WW2 – it is utterly outrageous that even a hint of criticism should be levelled at any allied servicemen in such circumstances.
    STOP AIDING THE FUCKING ENEMY.

  • magnetic north

    Conclusion of article from today’s Times(Link):

    “This is not a time for hyperbole or mislaid threats. Nor should it be exploited by those with ulterior motives as a call to arms. Nothing would be more absurd; nothing would please the leadership of the IRGC more. The one significant difference with 2004 is that Britain now has an expanding cadre of Persian specialists whose primary focus is Iran. The armchair generals should take a back seat and let the professionals do their job.

    Ali Ansari is director of the Institute of Iranian Studies, University of St Andrews and author of Confronting Iran”

  • As ex-U.S. military, it is amazing to me that a Navy patrol surrender without firing a single shot in self-defense. Here, they could expect an Article 99 court martial when they returned.

    Cowards

    Its worse than that as word is the Cromwell was ordered NOT to fire in support of the boats. Now if I were a British sailor I would be pretty damn wary of getting into one of those rubber boats again considering the VERY ship that supposedly has you covered is filled with diplomates instead of warriors.

    There was a time in the British navy when surrendering like a bunch of naughty children might have gotten you the hangsmen noose when you were released.

  • I repeat, it should be the clear policy of both the government and the military, that captives held by the enemy can make any statements they choose with perfect equanimity… All such statements, by the very nature of the circumstances in which they are given, mean absolutely nothing.

    You are simply incorrect. It matters a great deal what people in uniform say on video and there is no point pretending otherwise. Even if all you do is not look at ease and relaxed when saying what you have been told to say, you have done something useful and important. If you are being threatened, make sure you bloody well look frightened on the video they are making of you and at a stroke you will have turned the tables and made it clear what is really going on.

    Presumably you think all the effort nations put onto propaganda is a meaningless waste of time that has no effect because “no one believes it”. You are quite mistaken.

    And for that reason, it is important to do what you can not to assist the enemy’s propaganda efforts if you are captured to the best of your ability. The safety of the captives is an issue but it is not the only issue. The reason I wrote the article is that press has been acting as if their release is all that matters and that is simply not true.

    The job they agreed to do is to further the interests of their country and that may required them to do things that can get them injured or killed and that does not change just because they have been captured. Anyone in uniform has a legal requirement to at least try and resist giving aid to a hostile foreign state with their words and that is a fact, not just my opinion.

  • holdfast

    Zoe wrote:
    holdfast – I’m told that rape is just as bad for men. And don’t be so naive to think our enemies wouldn’t do that.

    The point is, just look at the amount of harm that has been done to, say, UK morale by these pictutes. I’d say… none. Counterproductive. Even counterproductive in the Arab world too.

    1) I have no doubt, unless it is worse. But that’s not my point – my point is that one of the first things brought up when dealing with a captured servicewoman is the spectre of rape, not so with men. Of course, back in the day when old curmudgeons were raising that spectre in the argument against females in combat roles, it was summarily dismissed by the feminists / lefties. Now we are in a war with what could charitably be called barbarians, and the same lefties tell us that poor Faye has to be held to a lower standard because of that “unique” threat. Well, sisters, its time to choose – can women be in combat or not? I’ve known some very able female combat troops, but I still think it is a bad policy to put women on the front lines, especially given our current crop of enemies.

    2) UK moral may or may not have been harmed, but this whole episode is doing wonders for Iranian prestige within the Islamic world. You may not think that it matters, but pumping up their egos like this will make any resolution to the nuclear issue even harder – it will make them more likely to repeat thois sort of stunt, increasing instability in the Gulf. Those are real harms. Frankly it just makes the UK look like a pussy. Now the Iranians may think that they’re dicks, even though we know them to be assholes, but they’ve seen the movie, and if the UK looks like a pussy, they are going to fuck you like one – because that’s what happens to pussies. And until the UK (or the USA) grows a dick and fucks those assholes, they are just going to keep shitting on everyone.

  • Holdfast, I think those who worry overmuch about the spectre of rape for females do so because, well, they are behind the times.

    Time was when those we were fighting against, in general, at least pretended to treat prisoners as human. Beating, starving, raping the women, yes. But not feeding them into a shredder, decapitation if done at all was done with a single sharp sword stroke, not a slow sawing away.

    At such long-gone times, it was reasonable to keep women out of combat roles. Rape or other mistreatment would be unlikely if captured en masse, as non-combatants, and they could expect reasonable conditions.

    We in Australia got disabused of this notion on a beach in Indonesia in 1942, when Australian Nurses were herded to the water’s edge, then machine gunned by the Japanese.

    Maybe my view is different. As a scumbag contractor with all sorts of interesting knowledge, I expected to have someone assigned to me to put me down as painlessly as possible if capture was imminent. That’s SOP (or should be) and has been since Bruneval etc.

    Fortunately much of my work was in submarines, where the possibilities of capture are remote.

  • Sunfish

    The lesson is and should always be- DO NOT NEGOTIATE WITH TERRORISTS. And this should apply whether they are state sponsored or not.

    That’s actually tactical doctrine now. In dealing with the Chechens, Russia figured out that, with an enemy who’s planning on 72 virgins, negotiation is only worthwhile as a delaying method, until takedown time.

    Here, we call it “talking them over to the window.” If our leaders were smart, they’d use diplomacy primarily as a way of planting a MatchKing between President Ahmadenejad’s running lights.

  • magnetic north

    “4. Europe and US should go Green. And get rid of its reliance on oil and gas. It needs to stop the cash flow to the middle east.”

    Deserves a thread of its own. Apart from global warming itself, there are other reasons to do this. Here are two:

    Every time I fill up my car, I’m funding the spread of wahhabism in the islamic world.

    In the event of a major war in the Middle East, unfriendly people control the continued functioning of our economy. The threat of this deters us from taking action that may otherwise be in our interests.

    But it’s OT, and that’ll do.

  • John

    You are simply incorrect. It matters a great deal what people in uniform say on video and there is no point pretending otherwise. Even if all you do is not look at ease and relaxed when saying what you have been told to say, you have done something useful and important. If you are being threatened, make sure you bloody well look frightened on the video they are making of you and at a stroke you will have turned the tables and made it clear what is really going on.

    No, no, no, no, no. You are simply reacting as the Iranians want you to react.

    Presumably you think all the effort nations put onto propaganda is a meaningless waste of time that has no effect because “no one believes it”. You are quite mistaken.

    The Iranian media is nothing but propaganda. Western news outlets should block all transmission of Iranian propaganda in the same way and for the same reasons that they do not broadcast child ‘porn.’

    And for that reason, it is important to do what you can not to assist the enemy’s propaganda efforts if you are captured to the best of your ability.

    They are not assisting the enemy – you are by giving credence to their confessions.

    The safety of the captives is an issue but it is not the only issue. The reason I wrote the article is that press has been acting as if their release is all that matters and that is simply not true.
    The job they agreed to do is to further the interests of their country and that may required them to do things that can get them injured or killed and that does not change just because they have been captured.

    They are not assisting the enemy – you are by giving credence to their confessions!

    Anyone in uniform has a legal requirement to at least try and resist giving aid to a hostile foreign state with their words and that is a fact, not just my opinion.

    They are not assisting a hostile foreign state – you are assisting the Iranians by giving credence to their confessions. They are not in the custody of the Los Angeles Police Department, they are held illegally by an unlawful regime. That very fact invalidates all their statements.

  • John, you do not actually seem to be reading what Old Jack Tar writes. It does not matter what you believe about the truth, the service people who are captive have a legal obligation to try and not play along what the Iranians want them to say.

    Pointing this out does not add credence to the Iranians, it is just pointing out an undeniable fact that these Royal Navy personnel are either not doing their job as they are obliged to do or they have been very poorly prepared by their superiors and do not know what is expected of them professionally and legally.

    OJT’s article was in response to the mainstream media’s remarks saying how Feye Turney was “professional” and “well trained”. He is just pointing out that complying with the Iranian’s orders and criticising her own government is neither “professional” nor “well trained” as a matter of fact.

    Your arguments are therefore irrelevant to his article (but not irrelevant in and of itself, of course) because his article was not saying whether or not the policy of captured personnel complying with the orders of a foreign government to make propaganda statements was appropriate (I suspect OJT thinks it is entirely appropriate) but the fact is, that is the policy and by not complying with it the RN prisoners are not being “professional” and are probably not “well trained”. “Sensible” is however a matter of opinion.

  • I have removed one off-topic comment as per our policy. Keep things relevant.

  • Anyone who reads the “letters” will see that sections are absolutely not written by a native English speaker.

    Examples: To British People

    I am writing to you as a British service person who has been sent to Iraq, sacrificed due to the intervening policies of the Bush and Blair governments.

    and:

    Representative of the House of Commons,

    I am writing to inform you of my situation. I am a British Serviceperson currently being held in Iran.

    Clearly not her words. Anyone with half a brain can see that. Anyone with any exposure to the use of English by non-native speakers will see a clear signature. Unfortunatley I wonder if the Comprehensive-educated population and New Labour baboons would spot the obvious mistakes.

  • John

    John, you do not actually seem to be reading what Old Jack Tar writes. It does not matter what you believe about the truth, the service people who are captive have a legal obligation to try and not play along what the Iranians want them to say.

    Servicemen cannot be held responsible for statements made under duress. The fact that they are held against their will invalidates all their statements. They have a legal obligation not to disclose military secrets but as far as propaganda goes they are at liberty to comply with any request made by their captors, indeed such complicity could be invaluable to Britain and her allies.

    Pointing this out does not add credence to the Iranians, it is just pointing out an undeniable fact that these Royal Navy personnel are either not doing their job as they are obliged to do or they have been very poorly prepared by their superiors and do not know what is expected of them professionally and legally.

    I disagree. They are under strict orders not to provoke a confrontation. They are obeying those orders. Their statements should not have been broadcast in the West in the first place. If some captured SAS man appears on enemy TV posturing as a gormless medic, should we expose him to the risk of discovery by broadcasting his statements in the UK so that Mohammed Al Kamalfukah who works in a bar in Hereford can out him on the net? There should be a nationwide ban on all such enemy propaganda for that reason alone.
    When we discuss the conduct of our personnel in the terms used by OJT we unwittingly condone the mythology of the Iranian regime – the British are weak, fearful, cowardly, Western trash. That is exactly the impression the Argentines wanted to give when they showed a platoon of prostrate British Commandos captured during the invasion of the Falklands. That impression didn’t last very long when the same marines returned to the Falklands with a whole regiment of their friends a few weeks later.

    OJT’s article was in response to the mainstream media’s remarks saying how Feye Turney was “professional” and “well trained”. He is just pointing out that complying with the Iranian’s orders and criticising her own government is neither “professional” nor “well trained” as a matter of fact.

    She is not criticising anything or anyone. She is not there. Her lips are moving for the time being. Good. We have still not been shown all the captives – for all we know they could be hanging by their thumbs in a courtyard. When John Nichols gave his Iraq War 1 TV confession “I do not believe on [sic] this war,” his Iraqi torturers were less than three feet away brandishing Kalashnikovs at his head. The same happened in Vietnam when US naval officers would trash the US while blinking the word ‘torture’ in Morse code.
    We have witnessed these charades before and none has ever resulted in a military prosecution, and rightly so.

  • If anybody wants to know, I’ve been using BP petrol almost exclusively for 9 years.
    BP doesn’t use Middle Eastern oil.

  • Paul Marks

    John says we must stop “aiding the enemy”, but as the Royal Navy ship was under orders not to fire at the Iranian forces (for fear of “loss of life” as Mr Blair said in the House of Commons) the Iranian regime can not be “enemies” – they must be “misguided friends”.

    The Iranians have plotted and schemed to kill as many Westerners (including British people in Iraq) as they could – but they are not enemies and the Royal Navy must not fire on them.

    Can you not see that this is a farce John?

    Someone above (I think it was TimC) said that “resistance is futile”.

    I was not aware that “the Borg” from “Star Trek” were writing British standing orders.

    Resistance is never futile. It is not a matter of winning, (although that is nice), it is matter of doing what is right – of not giving in.

    To allow 15 members of the Queen’s armed forces to be taken by a ruthless enemy (yes, unlike the ministers, I do regard them as an enemy) when they could have been backed up, is a disgrace.

    The civilians (and it is civilians) who are responsible for this policy should resign at once.

  • John

    John says we must stop “aiding the enemy”, but as the Royal Navy ship was under orders not to fire at the Iranian forces (for fear of “loss of life” as Mr Blair said in the House of Commons) the Iranian regime can not be “enemies” – they must be “misguided friends”.

    Paul, indeed, indeed, they are our “friends.” Both the UK and the US have openly solicited Iranian assistance in the Iraqi insurgency. A war with Iran has been denounced as ‘unthinkable’ by any number of MPs, US Congressmen, Senators, and European Presidents. They are the cowards. They are the treacherous scum.

    The Iranians have plotted and schemed to kill as many Westerners (including British people in Iraq) as they could – but they are not enemies and the Royal Navy must not fire on them.
    Can you not see that this is a farce John?

    I totally agree. The Iranians have been fighting a covert war with the West since 1979.

    Someone above (I think it was TimC) said that “resistance is futile”.
    I was not aware that “the Borg” from “Star Trek” were writing British standing orders.
    Resistance is never futile. It is not a matter of winning, (although that is nice), it is matter of doing what is right – of not giving in.
    To allow 15 members of the Queen’s armed forces to be taken by a ruthless enemy (yes, unlike the ministers, I do regard them as an enemy) when they could have been backed up, is a disgrace.
    The civilians (and it is civilians) who are responsible for this policy should resign at once.

    Absolutely. They have not a shred of honour between them. Meanwhile our servicemen risk death and injury on an hourly basis while operating under rules of engagement that are beyond satire.
    And the heroic service families, who are treated like shit by this quisling government, suffer the unbearable torment of knowing their loved ones are inadequately armed while facing a barbaric foe who torture and behead allied prisoners as a matter of routine.

    Iran has been sowing the wind for three decades – it’s time they reaped the whirlwind.

  • Paul Marks

    I agree with what John says here. I wish I had read this before I replyed to a comment on another thread – I would not have been so harsh had I done so.

    Read everything a man is saying before replying to him, is a rule that I should have applied to myself.

  • TPS

    A war with Iran has been denounced as ‘unthinkable’ by any number of MPs, US Congressmen, Senators, and European Presidents. They are the cowards. They are the treacherous scum… Meanwhile our servicemen risk death and injury on an hourly basis while operating under rules of engagement that are beyond satire.

    Having been one of those servicemen serving in Iraq under questionable ROEs and SOPs, I agree 100%. After reading some of the more vitriolic criticism of the troops, I want to make it perfectly clear that while I may be disappointed with what I have seen, it is very clear to me that these troops suffer from poor leadership. In my first reply to this post, I said that this could have been avoided, and that this is a systematic failure from the top down. I still maintain that position.

    I empathize with the Marines and Sailors and pray for their safe return.

  • I agree whole-heartedly with Old Tar.

    We were taught name, rank, and serial number…period.

    If I had ever given more than that without suffering more than the offer of a decent meal, I couldn’t have faced my shipmates again.

    I’m glad someone said this, and I’m glad it’s being discussed.

    There were 15 taken and only 3 or 4 are being paraded over and over. The other’s must be keeping their mouths shut. Good for them.

  • Les A. Faire

    I agree totally with everything John has said above. Any statement made as a result of duress is, ipso facto, invalid. We now know this is the way such business is done in Iran – forced confessions, admissions of guilt, and apologies The captives and the British Government should play them at their own game and comply with these ridiculous demands. Once home and safe, revoke the statements for the world’s press, and unleash fucking hell on Iran.

  • holdfast

    According to recent articles, the captured include a Lieutanant and a Captain of the Royal Marines(Link).

    I am frankly shocked that these guys are giving it up live on TV. I had, incorrectly, assumed that there was a lack of leadership personnel present and/or that junior enlisted members, like Faye Turney, were seperated from the leadership elements and were naive and had been fairly easily manipulated. It seems to me there are two possible explanations – either ther Iranians are being a lot harsher, and more sophisticated about it, than I thought that they would be at this stage of the game (especially since the UK is such a big trading partner), or the culture of failed leadership in the Royal Navy and Marines is a lot more pervasive than I first thought.

  • Adam Hall

    Its not the “confession” thats I wonder about. I think most reasonable folks assume this is coerced. Its the smiling, shaking hands, shedding a tear when the president of Iran speaks etc as being above and beyond what one would expect from someone who is just compiling. These folks are not civilians they signed up for the military for gods sake.

  • Adrienne Najjar

    Right on Sol! Court martial the little wimps. The commenters who think that any comments made by the hostages would obviously be discounted as being coerced, are all wet. The Iranians don’t care what the public opinion is in the west. All they care about is making propaganda points in their own milieu, i.e. the pathetic so-called “arab street”. And before you correct me by pointing out that Iranians are not arab, let me assure you, that they may not be so ethnically, bet they are in the same league. Damn them all.

  • James

    Thank-you commenters above, it’s interesting to get these points and ideas I’ve not seen elsewhere. Maybe Turney did the right thing “confessing” in what would obviously be seen as a false confession when she got out. Then again, how many people refuse to plead “guilty” in US or UK courts, even though it would have meant a lighter sentence than a “not guilty” plea, because they have the strength of their beliefs and convictions. They have firm character. Turney comes across as weak – and she had not just her safety but the whole Royal Navy and British reputation at stake when she did that. Traitor.
    In any case, the whole thing’s a false-flag PR scam to build support for an Iranian invasion. It’s a clever one, with probably a billion layers of planning and depth – UK public reaction to Turney selling her story was probably well thought out years ago. Things have gotten so clever now Wag the Dog looks like a high school production. Yeah call me paranoid but I DON’T LIKE IT. I DON’T LIKE WHERE THIS IS GOING. I’m British and I’m afraid of going to war with Iran. It’s all BS. Anyone can offer any solace or help?

  • James, the idea this is a conspiracy does not really withstand much examination. There is a well known military axiom: never make a plan that relies on the enemy’s co-operation.

    There are a great many ways the Iranians could have played this and there is no way the UKGov could have predicted with any reliability which was going to happen, therefore the outcome was so variable that for them to have ‘planned’ this is highly unlikely.

    People often see conspiracy when something happens that seems just too stupid and incompetently to have been done on purpose, so surely there is more than meets the eye. Yet in truth 95% of all so-called conspiracies are just that: stupidity and incompetence, rather than a deep dark plot by Sinister Illuminati ™.

    Things really aren’t that cleaver at all. Look around where you work: are the people who you work with particularly clever and able to gain nefarious objectives with complex manipulations of large numbers of people without their knowledge? I assure you that people who work for the government are no different.

  • Ryan

    I’m a marine and I am required to give name rank and service number upon my capture. It may seem out-dated but it is still around for a good reason. First of all, anyone who kidnaps or captures you is assumed to be committing an act of war against the country you represent. Therefore it is common knowledge that you are not to provide your kidnappers with any useful information. The concept behind name, rank, and service number is to provide a universality that protects those among your fellow prisoners who may know something. If several prisoners behave cooperatively, they are assumed to not know anything. However, if a prisoner in the same group provides only name, rank, and service number he is singled out as having something to hide and interrogators will focus on him. Having all captured personnel provide the same information prevents prisoners who know important information from receiving “special treatment”