Britain’s true confessions

Screen capture/AFP Now that the British marines and sailors are safely back home, the Ministry of Defense is beginning a thorough review of the incident. One aspect of the crisis that, quite understandably, got relatively little discussion during the captivity was whether the captured personnel acquitted themselves well. How much pressure were they under to ...

By , a professor at Indiana University’s Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies.
602784_070406_turney_05.jpg
602784_070406_turney_05.jpg

Screen capture/AFP

Now that the British marines and sailors are safely back home, the Ministry of Defense is beginning a thorough review of the incident. One aspect of the crisis that, quite understandably, got relatively little discussion during the captivity was whether the captured personnel acquitted themselves well. How much pressure were they under to perform for Iranian cameras? And were there some members of the group who refused to participate in Iranian propaganda?  

For the moment, the Royal Navy is behind its people, 100 percent.

Screen capture/AFP

Now that the British marines and sailors are safely back home, the Ministry of Defense is beginning a thorough review of the incident. One aspect of the crisis that, quite understandably, got relatively little discussion during the captivity was whether the captured personnel acquitted themselves well. How much pressure were they under to perform for Iranian cameras? And were there some members of the group who refused to participate in Iranian propaganda?  

For the moment, the Royal Navy is behind its people, 100 percent.

The admiral said “confessions” made by some of the group, who are due to give a press conference at the Royal Marines’ base at Chivenor, in north Devon, at 3pm today, appeared to have been made under “a certain amount of psychological pressure”. He said: “I think you will find out that they were actually a brave set of young people.”

Other former military personnel aren’t so sure that their conduct was in the best traditions of the service.

Lieutenant General Sir Michael Gray, Commander of 1st Battalion the Parachute Regiment in the early 1970s, also told the paper: “In my days you would have got name, rank and serial number and that would be your lot. “This situation looked like a bloody shambles, and while there was sympathy for Leading Seaman Turney, if she had been my soldier I would not have been impressed to see her smoking in front of the cameras. She knew she was being filmed. It did not look good.

Expect the Ministry of Defense to toughen up training on how to deal with capture and interrogation.

UPDATE: For a taste of just how harsh it’s getting for the returned seamen, check out the latest comments of the Telegraph‘s hard-bitten Toby Harnden, who was briefly a hostage himself in Zimbabwe:

While the Tehran 15’s return home – clutching their goody bags and acting as if their confessions, joshing around and abject apologies amounted to a brave and clever strategy …”

More here.

David Bosco is a professor at Indiana University’s Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies. He is the author of The Poseidon Project: The Struggle to Govern the World’s Oceans. Twitter: @multilateralist

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