Creating people's geographies
With the hyperbole in both the British and US media about the capture of 14 British servicemen and one servicewoman, some reminders may well be timely about the disputed nature (between Iran and Iraq) of these waters; about the contrast in prisoner treatment; and about past (and likely current) Coalition provocations in Iran.
The first serves to undermine British claims to conclusivity in their insistence their forces were in Iraqi waters, the second and third highlight the hypocrisy and lack of credibility the UK and US governments have in mounting any sort of legitimate case for war against Iran.
Serving as a model of diplomatic restraint for both the US and the UK, let us first recall Iran’s conduct in the 1988 tragedy when US forces shot down an unarmed civilian Iranian Airbus, Iran Air Flight 655, on July 3 1988 — killing all 290 Iranian men, women and children on board. After initially claiming it was in self-defence, the Reagan administration (thanks Natural Media) shushed it up — just how many of us remember the name USS Vincennes?
The US government paid reparations to Iran, eventually, but never apologized.
The current “crisis” revolving around the capture of the 15 Brits is being described as an “ordeal” by British MSM and a “disgusting” parade by Prime Monster Blair, yet the soldiers own relatives apparently beg to differ:
Adam Sperry’s uncle, Ray Cooper, 49, spoke of his family’s relief at seeing him alive and apparently well.
Mr Cooper said: “It’s all very well saying it’s wrong to parade them, but when it’s your family it’s a good feeling.
In stark contrast to many international prisoners captured in the US and UK, the British servicemen and woman are at least shown to be OK, giving some comfort to their families. There is no evidence of ill-treatment.
Left: Junior sailor Nathan Summers, Ldg Seaman Faye Turney and Marine Adam Sperry appearing on Iranian TV
Right: Prisoners at Guantanamo — unidentified
|HOW THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION TREATS PRISONERS (Abu Ghraib)
The British government have recently called the release of a letter from Leading Seaman Faye Turney urging Britain to withdraw its forces from Iraq as “cruel and callous“.
Cruel and callous, Mr Blair? Could it be remotely in the same league as Coalition abuses? Oh, the outrage and indecency of being asked to don a headscarf (respecting the customs of the country), rather than a Gitmo orange jumpsuit and shackles!
And what is the Iranian government asking for? Why, an apology and the right to be left in peace. How very uncivilised. It is heartening to see that the rest of the world isn’t buying the over the top claims of the Blair government. See also Kurt Nimmo’s piece on how the “hostage” drama pales in comparison to MI6 and CIA crimes against Iran, (ADE 28 March 2007)
Certainly, the government, families and media have every right to be concerned and every diplomatic effort should be made to secure their release. But it is hardly on a par with how the coalition has treated prisoners, nor does it remotely constitute a casus belli.
Meanwhile, according to recent reports we read from Russian intelligence, it is Iran that is in danger with alarming claims that U.S. forces have nearly completed preparations for a possible military operation against Iran in early April.
Iran has every right to develop nuclear energy. IAEA Director General and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Mohamad El Baradei has reiterated Iranian government assurances in a recent television interview that Iran is not considered a nuclear threat to the world.
And some sanity and wisdom from American group Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). In a memorandum issued yesterday entitled Brinksmanship in Uncharted Waters, they issue a strong caveat against launching a war against Iran. The whole memo is worth reading in full; here is a brief excerpt:
Unless one’s basic intention is to provoke a hostile action to which the US and UK could “retaliate,” getting involved in a tit-for-tat contest with the Iranians is a foolish and reckless game, for it may not prove possible to avoid escalation and loss of control. And we seem to be well on our way there. If one calls Iran “evil,” arrests its diplomats, accuses it of promoting terrorism and unlawful capture, one can be certain that the Iranians will retaliate and raise the stakes in the process.