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The Hostages


Gardian
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Not having been on here for a while, I was surprised to see that there wasn't a blistering row going on over this little lot. So, unless it's lurking behind a 'scone recipe' or 'bikers in the Vendee' post, then either (1) nobody cares, or (2) all the arguers have decamped, or (3) it's Easter & quiet on here.

Whichever, I'm going to light the blue touch paper and ...........

Unless I heard it wrong, I think that I understand the UK Govt's line now to be:  "The Navy wanted the hostages to be able to talk to the media for a fee, but we are now putting a stop to it".   This was after the Army chief said "It won't happen here".

For me, I'm sure that the hostages went through an awful experience and I'm sure that we're all pleased that they're back safe and sound.  The debate around how they were ever placed, or placed themselves in that situation in the first place, will no doubt continue.  However, I feel (like most I suspect) that a decision to allow media access, was ill-judged, unnecessary, politically-inept and at worst, tacky.

But now .......... for a Cabinet politician to blame a subordinate (presumably the First Sea Lord) for this monumental volte-face, just about takes the proverbial biscuit.  How could such a decision ever have been made without consulting him?  Alistair Campbell (love him or hate him) would have vetoed this political banana skin before it ever saw the light of day.  Madness.

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Obviously the media were prepared to pay for these interviews, that being the case I think that the money should have been given to a charity/charities that benefits servicemen and women and their dependent's.

As it is its just a muddle which makes those involved look like fools.

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It's interesting that when other 'hostages' - and these people were not hostages, arguably they were prisoners illegally taken in international but disputed waters and they were not being held in lieu of some demand from the Iranian government - like get me a helicopter to get out of here, leave our nuclear programme alone or the hostages get it - are given lots of advice when they get home which includes don't make any rash decisions and immediately get into counselling.

If these naval personnel 'need' to speak to somebody to tell their story, surely speak to the professionals first and for an extended time if they are so traumatised by what happened to them?  And how long was their military debriefing if the two people nabbed by the Mirror and Sun have had enough time to have extensive interviews with the press and for Faye Turney to do the Trevor Macdonald thing last night?

Would be interesting to know when these press deals were done as the young guy concerned was hardly coherent in the press conference on Saturday.

That does not detract from the fact that if things were as they said they were, I'm pleased it wasn't me there or any of my kids/grandchildren. 

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It is all most strange.

15 British soldiers get captured, roughed up a bit, and then are released again, you have to ask yourself where is the story?

Faye Turney felt bad at writing those letters?   Oh really.   She is a professional soldier.  If she was briefed to co-operate, she was doing her job.   If she co-operated out of fear for herself, you're going into different territory, about doing what you think is right.   However, her alleged conscience evaporated pretty quickly in the face of £100 000.    The lady is a mercenary, a soldierette of fortune!  It's all minable.

The whole thing is only an issue because there's a woman involved anyway.  Who ever said that women should rule the world?  [:)]

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I think the Navy and the MOD are now trying "you can fool all the people all of the time". 

 The whole episode stinks and in the fullness of time the truth will come out.  How Royal Marines and RN serviceman must be spinning in their graves to see service personnel being paid to be part of the US/Iran propoganda war.  Glad to see that some of the captured personnel have some respect for themselves.

I think Fay Turney's career in the Navy will be very short lived.  I doubt that she will go back to the Cornwall after this. What a load of tosh her interview was, media driven and media orchestrated, despite being tortured by being given a regular supply of cigarettes, made to play table tennis and fed 3 times a day,   she manages to come out with "they measured me up and I thought it was for a coffin,  I could hear wood being cut and nailed" (which Sun journalist, navy or MOD spin doctor put that thought into her head,)  What she forgot to say was "but I was pleased to see the next day that they had made me a nice suit".  If that is torture I wonder how she would have like to spend 10 days in a serb/US army/Israeli/Turkish or Saudi jail.  She should not gain a penny from her so called ordeal, I wonder what exactly the perecentage of her alleged £100K she is giving to her shipmates 2% 3%?

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[quote user="Russethouse"]

[quote user="Gastines"]Never mind,"Lessons will be learnt",as they keep telling us.[/quote]

But when ? they are still blaming so much on the last Conservative government, after all this time - they must be very slow learners........

[/quote]

I think Gastines was referring to the quote from the Navy and MOD about the patrolling of the waterway between Iraq and Iran.[blink][blink]  You training to be a politician Gay?

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Moi ? You are joking !

Its just the same old line though.........

I feel sorry for the 'hostages' and sorry for their parents too but surely they deserve to be able to come out of that situation and get the proper support, not duff media own goals, how did Des Browne and his advisors let a situation happen where now 2 of the fifteen look like being substantially better off than the others.........thats really going to help 'team spirit' isn't it ? 

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I am sure by now that we are all certain that the capture of the service personel by the Iranians, wasn't a put up job but then this whole fiasco, from start to finish, makes me wonder if we are loosing the military plot and wonder how much real damage has been done to the credibility of our armed services.

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Personally, I see it as;

UK government wants us to be considering Iran as a significant enemy (so we can help GW invade them).  However, the UK completely lost the PR competition over the issue - bad news when it comes to everybody developing strong anti-Iran opinions.  UK gov. could tell us how badly the 15 were treated, but they have told us so much rubbish and lies in the past most people don't believe them any more.  Plus, they would only be accused of more "spin".
Answer; allow the individuals to tell/sell their story.  Loads of public sympathy,  Gov is saying nothing so cannot be accused of any spin, pay people £100 000 for a story and you will probably get something quite dramatic (you don't get "nice breakfast, sitting round the bar, afternoon beside the pool ..." when people are paying you £100 000).  Ideal solution.  UK Gov cannot be accused of spin and everybody starts thinking the these Iranians really are our enemy and need sorting out.

I don't blame the girl for taking the money.  I would.  I blame the UK gov. for what I can only assume is a predictable plan back-fired (last night the news said that Des Browne had apprved the "selling their stories" policy).  And lets face it, one of the 15 interviewed before they were captured (by Channel 5) clearly stated  "... it's to gather int [intelligence] if they do have any information, because they're here for days at a time. They can share it with us whether it's about piracy or any sort of Iranian activity in the area, because obviously we're right by the buffer zone with Iran" - so their activities were exceeding the UN brief.


Ian

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1.  Glad to see they are back.

2.  Pretty sordid as soon as the cash was flashed.

3.  Would I take the cash?  How much is enough to salve your conscience - about £100k if you are a heavy smoker that happens to be a mother.  Odds are that £100k is what the family needed for her to become a full-time mother.

I work in the ME but thankfully not at ground level.  My sympathies lie with soldiers on the frontline having to deal with [email protected] all day every day whilst seeing their comrades being blown up by alleged Iranian sponsored terrs.

regards

Vern

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The thought that stays with me is how I would feel if I had lost a son, husband, brother.............in the current conflict or even other conflicts.

I'm not sure that we look after the bereaved very well, one youngish girl was widowed and left with twin boys to bring up last week - I hope someone gives her a very large lump sum, but somehow I don't think that happens.............

 

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[quote user="Chezstevens"]

 My sympathies lie with soldiers on the frontline having to deal with [email protected] all day every day whilst seeing their comrades being blown up by alleged Iranian sponsored terrs.

regards

Vern

[/quote]

Alledged is exactly right.  Given the choice between believing blair and bush, or believing the iranians, the iranians win hands down. As an ex-forces man, i find it appalling that we now have widows, widowers and orphans in this country as a direct result of Blairs pro-US sycophancy and outright lies. And no, i am not anti-US.  I am PRO_BRITISH and believe we can do better than kiss the backside of some half baked wannabee global dictator.  We are better than that.

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[quote user="Russethouse"]

The thought that stays with me is how I would feel if I had lost a son, husband, brother.............in the current conflict or even other conflicts.

I'm not sure that we look after the bereaved very well, one youngish girl was widowed and left with twin boys to bring up last week - I hope someone gives her a very large lump sum, but somehow I don't think that happens.............

 

[/quote]

Currently with AFPS05 the widow(er) is compensated with 4 x salary and an annual war pension based on a percentage of the individuals accrued pension (I believe 62%) but depends on number of minors below 18 - this is true for service personnel that die on duty.   I have no idea if further compensation is due for the bereaved but have certainly e(i)nsured that my family should have a reasonable lifestyle if the same happened.

regards

Vern

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I believe that is correct.  Defence Housing Executive (DHE) normally require vacation after 90 days - however if an individual has died in service then there will be a softly softly approach.  The rules allow the property to be charged at commercial rate (even if it is a dump) after this period - I suggest this would not be allowed to escalate into a bad news story - I would suggest, if required, a sympathetic approach would be taken between DHE and the local council that suits the bereaved.  This is not a regular occurrence and, thank god, people will try and do all they can for the bereaved. 

I have not looked at the re-marriage side of things however, should the case arise, I am sure my wife, as an ex-financial adviser, will take the appropriate action!

regards

Vern 

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I know I'm being really cynical here but I just get the feeling that the MoD/government will be sued by one of the 15 for the stress that they've had to endure whilst doing their job, part of which must have included being briefed on what to say and do if you are captured.  If they weren't briefed, the services deserve to be sued.

That is unless the briefings have changed completely or been abandoned since I worked with the services.

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[quote user="Tony F Dordogne"]

I know I'm being really cynical here but I just get the feeling that the MoD/government will be sued by one of the 15 for the stress that they've had to endure whilst doing their job, part of which must have included being briefed on what to say and do if you are captured.  If they weren't briefed, the services deserve to be sued.

That is unless the briefings have changed completely or been abandoned since I worked with the services.

[/quote]

I have no knowledge how the RN deal with such matters but I would be astonished if boarding crews, working in close proximity to an international boundary that would appear to be disputed and considering the previous crew seized by the Iranians, were not thoroughly briefed on how to deal with seizure - illegal or otherwise.  As pointed out in the media we are not at war with Iran so the rules are different - the crew adopting a stiff upper lip was probably not a requirement but I note that 2 marines, god bless them, selected this procedure. 

The fact they did not resist and the capture was well publicised allowed the FO to start demanding, or pleading, for their safe return.  The 2 marines who did not help with the propaganda coup deserve a pat on the back.

When you join the military, and swear allegiance to the crown, you are aware that one day there may be a requirement to be in harms way (that is not being melodramatic and never so true as the last 15 years).  The services work hard to ensure you are prepared for that event.  However, until somebody has been in the same position - realistic training doesn't count! - how can you say how you would react.

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However, until somebody has been in the same position - realistic training doesn't count! - how can you say how you would react.

You're near the mark Chezstevens. Thankfully the boarding parties didn't engage their captors, they would have been shredded. The team leader would have been relaying the scenario to his superiors as it unfolded and the right decisions were made. I do believe they should have been freed by action and not the politicians playing their games. Their positions would have been tracked every second of the day and the contingencies were in place to get them out. The real shame is that the Iranians seem to be preening themselves over this, we could have put egg over their faces.

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[quote user="Chris Head"]The real shame is that the Iranians seem to be preening themselves over this, we could have put egg over their faces.[/quote]

Instead of which it is the UK politicians with egg all over their faces.

(But I don't agree about the need to have taken action to "get them back" - I believe that these things have a pattern of escalating; we send people in, they get more worked-up and take action back, so we taken even more action, etc.. until GW/TB have the war they are seeking so much).

Ian

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