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Media alert: Headshot-propaganda, state religion & the attack on the gaza peace flotilla-parts 2 & 1
#1
MEDIA LENS: Correcting for the distorted vision of the corporate media

June 11, 2010


MEDIA ALERT: HEADSHOT - PROPAGANDA, STATE RELIGION AND THE ATTACK ON THE GAZA PEACE FLOTILLA - PART 2


As discussed in Part 1, media coverage of the non-violent Iranian capture of 15 British sailors (in Iranian waters) focused on the humiliating failure of the sailors to open fire in self-defence. Journalists took a very different view of the May 31 Israeli attack on the ship Mavi Marmara carrying human rights activists and supplies to the besieged population of Gaza.

In this case, the key question was not why the activists failed to open fire (they had no guns) on their approaching kidnappers, but whether they used lesser violence - hitting with sticks and poles - before the commandos opened fire killing nine people and wounding several dozen more. The first two questions of the BBC’s online Q&A focused squarely on the issue of who initiated the violence:

"How did the confrontation begin?

"The six ships, travelling from Cyprus, were boarded in international waters. Commandos landed on the largest ship by descending on ropes from helicopters. They were attacked by the activists on board, and opened fire." (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_...203726.stm)

“Who started the violence?

“This is disputed. The activists say the commandos started shooting as soon as they hit the deck. Israeli officials say the commandos fired in self-defence. Video clips show activists wielding something that looks like a baseball bat and other objects.”

The BBC asked “Who started the violence?” And yet, in the case of the British sailors it was taken for granted that the intention to capture the sailors was justification, not just for their hitting with sticks and poles, but for opening fire with machine guns, regardless of the lack of Iranian violence. And of course a bedrock theme of international law is the assumption that it is far worse for armed forces to attack civilians than combatants. In which case, if the British sailors were entitled to defend themselves with guns against seizure, what to say of activists armed with sticks and poles facing the far more egregious abuse of their +civilian+ rights?

This returns us again to the thought control of state religion. As discussed, actions by “security forces” are deemed to have more legitimacy than those of mere individuals. Israeli propaganda notwithstanding, unarmed “activists” are not “terrorists”, but they still lack the inherent authority of agents of the state. Devotees of the state religion view all attempts to resist the “security forces” attacking them as illegitimate. How can we understand the mind-set? The ultra-violent animated sci-fi cop Judge Dredd is fond of declaring: “I am the Law!” By definition, then, it must be illegal to resist “the Law”, even when it is attacking, kidnapping and killing you.

The Daily Mail, so incensed by the seizure of the British sailors, commented:

“While it is by no means certain that any of the British people were involved in the violence, yesterday it became clear that some - perhaps only a tiny minority - of the shipmates had violent intentions.”
(http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnew...-raid.html)

A leading article in The Times was titled: “Israel has behaved appallingly, but those on board the flotilla also warrant scrutiny.” (The Times, June 3, 2010)

Can we conceive of The Times recommending “scrutiny” of the behaviour of the British sailors, if nine of them had been shot dead, unarmed, on a humanitarian mission?


Nine Civilians Killed - A Public Relations Disaster

We doubt there were any examples (we found none) of media articles lamenting the “public relations disaster” for Iran of the “kidnapping” of the British sailors. By contrast, the media has consistently focused on the Israeli attack in these terms. On May 31, Jonathan Marcus, the BBC’s diplomatic correspondent, commented on the BBC website:

“This was always going to be a high-risk operation for Israel both in terms of reputation and diplomatic repercussions.

“Taking over vessels at sea is no easy task, even if the units carrying out the mission are well-trained, and it is especially difficult if the people already on board the vessels resist.

“The full details of what happened will emerge in time, but in political terms the damage has already been done.

“The deaths threaten to make what was always going to be a potential public relations disaster for Israel into a fully-fledged calamity.” (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_...195838.stm)

We wrote to Marcus on the same day:

Hi Jonathan

Your comments on the BBC website are shameful:

"This was always going to be a high-risk operation for Israel both in terms of reputation and diplomatic repercussions."

I guess it was a higher-risk operation for the activists. To present the massacre as primarily a PR problem for Israel is beyond belief - 19 people [sic - a widely reported death toll at the time] are dead!

Sincerely

David Edwards

Marcus replied on June 1:

Dear Mr Edwards,

Many thanks for your e-mail. Forgive me but I cannot see what is shameful about my piece at all. Indeed I think it presents a very fair picture of the implications of what happened.

Since you say you read my piece I imagine that you saw the excerpt from my longer radio piece which was posted on the BBC News On-Line site. I am the Diplomatic Correspondent here and my task was to look at the diplomatic/political ramifications of this incident.

The details of what happened were all over the BBC web-site and indeed carried extensively on our radio output. The BBC reported the reaction to this episode from Gaza, Israel and Turkey, something of which we should be justly proud, reflecting all shades of opinion. The introductory section of my piece, which you read, was intended to show that this was always likely to turn into a mess - though one would have hoped not the tragic mess that involved the loss of several lives. I stand by what I wrote and if you disagree then clearly you are at liberty to do so. I have added the longer radio piece below for your interest. Thank you

Regards

JM

This was always going to be a high-risk operation for Israel both in terms of reputation and diplomatic repercussions. Taking over vessels at sea is no easy task even if the units carrying out the mission are well trained and it is especially difficult if the people already on board the vessels resist. The full details of what happened will emerge in time, but in political terms the damage has already been done. The deaths threaten to make what was always going to be a potential public relations disaster for Israel into a fully-fledged calamity. But the political ramifications could be even more serious. A Turkish charity had a major role in organising this flotilla. The Palestinian issue plays strongly in Turkish public opinion where the tide is already strongly critical of Israel. This episode will only make matters worse.

Turkish politics is changing. Groups like the military who always backed strong ties with Israel now have less political clout. Relations between the two countries are ratcheting downwards with few pressures operating in the opposite direction to improve ties. This incident at sea also firmly puts the spotlight on Gaza and Israel's efforts to control access to the territory. Gaza is unfinished business with all three key players - Israel, Egypt and the United States all happy to try to isolate the Hamas government there. But as aid agencies warn this isolation comes at a price for the ordinary people of Gaza and this incident catapults their plight firmly into the spotlight.

We replied the same day:

Dear Jonathan

Many thanks. Your piece presented the killing of perhaps 19 unarmed human rights activists as, first and foremost, a PR problem for the killers. Why is that shameful? Several reasons. First, it is something you would never do if the victims were British, or American, or indeed Israeli. Imagine if Hamas fighters boarded a ship in international waters and shot dead 19 Israeli civilians. It is inconceivable that you would write:

“This was always going to be a high-risk operation for Hamas both in terms of reputation and diplomatic repercussions.

“Taking over vessels at sea is no easy task, even if the units carrying out the mission are well-trained, and it is especially difficult if the people already on board the vessels resist.

“The full details of what happened will emerge in time, but in political terms the damage has already been done.

“The deaths threaten to make what was always going to be a potential public relations disaster for Hamas into a fully-fledged calamity.”

Your editors and readers would be outraged that you presented the massacre from the perspective of the killers, reflecting on the “difficult” nature of their task, even though they were “well-trained” (your implication), especially if people “resist”. Your analysis soft pedals the illegality and horror to a virtual standstill, and presents the killing as a kind of legitimate police action that went wrong, rather than a criminal slaughter of civilians. Can you honestly not see that?

Your email continues in similar vein when you describe the killings as merely “a mess”. Would you describe London’s 7/7 atrocity as “a mess”? Was 9/11 a big “mess”?

Best

David

Marcus replied again on the same day:

In answer to your first line - no it did not - and you fail to accept that I was writing about one specific aspect of the story which was comprehensively covered by a variety of pieces from many people and many locations. I have taken time to respond to you but if you want to interpret my piece in this way, clearly nothing I say will convince you.
JM

Marcus’s focus was repeated right across the media. The Observer commented:

“Israel has spent the past five days struggling to contain a diplomatic crisis and public relations catastrophe.”
(http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jun...-gaza-ship)

The Telegraph:

“Israel has faced criticism around the world over the raid and critics said that the assault was a public relations disaster for the country.”
(http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnew...ately.html)

And The Times:

“Was it good public relations to be seen trying to turn back ships carrying crayons for schools, medicines for hospitals and cement to rebuild bomb-damaged towns?”
(http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment...141295.ece)

The focus on PR downplays the atrocity by viewing the incident from Israel’s perspective, by evaluating the cost to +Israel+. Again, this might seem reasonable enough, but the point is it +never+ happens in response to “rogue state” atrocities. Then, the emphasis is on condemnation, on the need to inflict damage through sanctions and bombing, not on evaluating any self-inflicted PR damage. In the immediate aftermath of the 7/7 suicide bombings in London in 2005, did any British journalist focus on the “PR disaster” for groups opposed to US-UK foreign policy? To even think of the slaughter in these terms would have seemed grotesque. The idea of a “PR disaster” implies a self-inflicted wound, which implies a blunder, feeding into the idea that the benevolent state and its allies make mistakes rather than commit crimes.

In similar vein, the Guardian wrote of “the botched assault” on the flotilla. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jun...rie-israel) The Independent wrote of the “botched commando raid”. (‘How the sick of Gaza have paid the heaviest price of Israel's blockade,’ The Independent, June 5, 2010) So did the Telegraph (June 2) and The Times (June 2), and so on. The word “fiasco” has also been used in numerous press articles. As ever, the focus emphasised that something +went+ wrong, rather than that something +was+ wrong, criminally wrong. In March 2006, the BBC’s diplomatic correspondent, Bridget Kendall, commented:

“There’s still bitter disagreement over invading Iraq. Was it justified or a disastrous miscalculation?” (BBC Six O’Clock News, March 20, 2006)

In other words, the worst that could be imagined was that Britain and America had been responsible for a “botched” operation, a “fiasco”, a “mistake”, a “public relations disaster”. On June 6, a Times article asked of the Israeli attack:

“How could such a catastrophic miscalculation occur?” (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/wo...144753.ece)

Yes, the state and its allies make mistakes - don’t we all? - but they always means well and are never responsible for crimes such as murder and the launching of wars of aggression.

Having all but demanded war in response to the “kidnapping” of the British sailors in 2007, Melanie Phillips responded to the assault on the flotilla with her usual hard-lock bias, insisting that Israel was “protecting itself against Turkish terrorist aggression” in the form of the “Turkish terror convoy”. (http://www.spectator.co.uk/melaniephilli.../2010/May/)

She added:

“It is becoming ever more clear that Islamist terror attacks like this are fiendishly staged theatrical events in which the western media – and beyond them, western governments -- play an absolutely essential role in the drama.”
(http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jun...ion-Israel)

If the Telegraph had been outraged by the seizure of 15 British sailors, Stephanie Gutmann took a more understanding line on the massacre of nine unarmed civilians:

“In a perfect world, the IDF would have boarded the ship and immobilised as many people as possible with tear gas or other forms of non-lethal crowd control. But it’s not a perfect world. Tear gas and the like take minutes to take effect, and apparently the IDF was met almost immediately with attackers. In a country of about 7 million you have to have slightly more protective rules of engagement for your soldiers than the US or Britain is employing in Afghanistan.” (Gutmann, ‘Gaza peace ship shoot-out is a win-win for Hamas,’ telegraph.co.uk blog, May 31, 2010; http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/stepha...for-hamas/)

In a perfect world - or indeed in an imperfect world subject to the rule of international law - the IDF would not have boarded the ships at all. The ugly reality ignored by Gutmann was revealed in a Guardian article reporting autopsy results on the bodies of those killed. The victims “were peppered with 9mm bullets, many fired at close range”. The nine dead were shot a total of 30 times - five were killed by gunshot wounds to the head:

“The results revealed that a 60-year-old man, Ibrahim Bilgen, was shot four times in the temple, chest, hip and back. A 19-year-old, named as Fulkan Dogan, who also has US citizenship, was shot five times from less than 45cm, in the face, in the back of the head, twice in the leg and once in the back. Two other men were shot four times, and five of the victims were shot either in the back of the head or in the back, said Yalcin Buyuk, vice-chairman of the council of forensic medicine.” (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jun...sy-results)

Perhaps even in Gutmann’s imperfect world the Israeli soldiers could have aimed at the peace activists’ legs, rather than choosing headshots all but guaranteed to kill them.

Haneen Zoubi, an Arab member of the Israeli parliament, who was aboard the Mavi Marmara, accused Israel of intending to kill activists in order to deter future convoys. According to Zoubi, Israeli naval vessels surrounded the ship and fired on it several minutes before the commandos attacked. She said she was not aware of any provocation or resistance by the passengers, adding:

“They wanted many deaths to terrorise us and to send a message that no future aid convoys should try to break the siege of Gaza.” (Jonathan Cook, ‘Israeli MP tells of her terror on aid ship,’ The National, Last Updated: June 02. 2010 12:34AM UAE / June 1. 2010 8:34PM GMT; http://thenational.ae/apps/pbcs.dll/arti...2659584090)

Just as Israeli and British armed forces are “kidnapped” while Hamas militants are “arrested”, so the surviving activists of the peace flotilla were merely “detained” and “held” by Israel, and later “deported”. Our Lexis Nexis media database search (June 11) found 94 articles mentioning the words “Israel”, “flotilla” and “detained” in the past two weeks. The words “Israel”, “flotilla” and “kidnapped” were mentioned in 17 articles - all uses of the word “kidnapped” were by activists, not journalists.

In 2007, Tony Blair said of the capture of the British sailors:

“They [the Iranians] should not be under any doubt at all about how seriously we regard this act, which is unjustified and wrong.” (‘Blair joins Tehran seizure protest,’ The Guardian, March 26, 2007)

Blair said this week of the attack on the flotilla:

“When it comes to security, I’m 100 percent on Israel’s side. Israel has the right to inspect what goes into Gaza.” (http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-de...f-1.294986)
http://www.medialens.org/alerts/10/10060..._state.php
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
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#2
Is there a part 1? I'd like to link to it from part 2.
Reply
#3
Yes there is but it is in another board. I'll have a hunt around and post part 1.
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
Reply
#4
The most potent propaganda relies on language loaded with hidden implications. In a recent speech, journalist Robert Fisk noted:

“When we westerners find that ‘our’ enemies - al-Qaeda, for example, or the Taliban - have set off more bombs and staged more attacks than usual, we call it ‘a spike in violence’. Ah yes, a ‘spike’!

“A ‘spike’ in violence, ladies and gentlemen is a word first used, according to my files, by a brigadier general in the Baghdad Green Zone in 2004. Yet now we use that phrase, we extemporise on it, we relay it on the air as our phrase.”
(http://english.aljazeera.net/focus/2010/...65274.html)

It seems reasonable to assert that violence has ‘spiked’ in, say, Afghanistan because violence +has+ increased. But having accepted this reasonable, open implication, we will likely also accept the hidden prediction - that the rise in violence will be followed by a rapid decline. This is important because if we believed the violence might be long-lasting, perhaps worsening, then we might become concerned, outraged - we might even feel prompted to take action. A ‘spike’ suggests that, by the time we get round to doing something, the problem may already have gone away.

Similarly, on June 25, 2006, an Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, was captured by Palestinian militants at an army post near Gaza. The BBC and ITV news, the Guardian and the Independent all described the action as a “kidnapping”. Guardian journalist David Fickling wrote:

“Israeli troops arrested dozens of Hamas ministers and parliamentarians today as they stepped up their campaign to free a soldier kidnapped by militants in Gaza at the weekend.” (http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0...70,00.html)

We wrote to Fickling and asked him why Israeli militants “detain” and “arrest” while Palestinian militants “kidnap”. Fickling replied:

“There is a well attested distinction between arrest – an action carried out by a state as the first step of a well-defined legal process – and kidnap, which is an action carried out by private individuals with no defined outcome, enforceable purpose, or rights of review or release.” (Email, June 29, 2006)

In reality, these “arrests” occurred in occupied territory in violation of international law. The notion of a “well-defined legal process” was laughable - Israel has no legal jurisdiction whatever in the territories.

As Fickling’s answer makes clear, the hidden ideological source empowering much propaganda is the presumed legitimacy of the state and its actions. We are trained, not just to respect, but to revere the state, the shining “city upon a hill”. We lower our heads before ‘the flag’ and the national anthem much as we would before religious idols. Indeed, people receive an insult to ‘the flag’ much as they would an insult to their God. This seems just ‘the way things are’ now, but in 1937 political analyst Rudolf Rocker explained how state managers had very consciously emulated organised religion in their attempts to manipulate the public mind:

“Every church is constantly striving to extend the limits of its power, and to plant the feeling of dependence deeper in the hearts of men. But every temporal power is animated by the same desire, so in both cases the efforts take the same direction. Just as in religion God is everything and man nothing, so in politics the state is everything, the subject nothing.” (Rocker, Culture and Nationalism, Michael E. Coughlan, 1978, p.55)

Rocker added:

“The Crusader's cry, ‘God wills it!’ would hardly raise an echo in Europe today, but there are still millions of men who are ready for anything if the nation wills it! Religious feeling has assumed political forms.” (Ibid, p.252)

‘Balanced’ news reporting of state action comes laden with this highly suspect, quasi-religious baggage. Notice how respectable Fickling’s “troops” who merely “arrest” seem compared to the “militants” who “kidnap”. The “troops” are “security forces”, responsible agents of the hallowed state. A “militant” is any Tom, Dick or Harry with a gun. And of course a “terrorist” is a kind of devil.

It sounds much worse when journalists report that civilians have been killed by “militants” or “terrorists” than by “security forces” or “peacekeeping forces”. The latter terms instantly tone down the psychological impact of state violence, suggesting that the motive was to maintain order - any civilian casualties must have been an unintended outcome, a tragic mistake. By contrast, the word “terrorist” suggests that civilian suffering was the intended outcome. To propose that “security forces” might be “terrorists” - that they might be intimidating through terror - is dizzying. It sounds like a contradiction in terms, a reversal of the truth.

The end result is that we are trained to react to violent acts, not on the basis of their objective legality and human cost, but on the basis of the perceived legitimacy of the people committing the act. Violence committed by authority figures will tend to be viewed as legitimate and well-intentioned. Violence committed by non-state actors or “rogue states” resisting the state will tend to be seen as illegitimate and malevolent.

This means that the public, in a sense, does not receive “news” - it receives the +same+ event repeated over and over again. The same “security forces” are always taking regrettable but necessary action against “terrorists” and “militants”. The public no longer sees real, changing, complex events; it sees the same frozen, benevolent image of the world. As we have seen in recent years, almost literally any horror, any act of mass murder, can take place behind this image with few public attempts to intervene or stop what is happening.

It is the role of the mass media to use language to keep this frozen image fixed before the public mind.


Kidnapped - Iran Provides A Casus Belli For War

Needless to say, devotion to the state religion is promoted only for “respectable” members of the “international community”. Mere “rogue states” are a crude parody of the real thing. Like dressed up chimpanzees, their armed forces are in reality “militants”, their political commanders “terrorists”. It makes no difference that they wear the same uniforms ‘we’ wear, ape our quasi-religious state pomp and ceremony, or cover themselves in shiny medals.

Just three years ago, on March 23, 2007, 15 British sailors were detained by Iranian forces and held captive for twelve days. The mainstream media immediately described the sailors as “hostages” who had been “kidnapped” in Iraqi waters (in fact the sailors were part of an illegal occupation force in Iraq that had strayed into Iranian waters). A Guardian report was titled:

“Timing: Kidnappings came day before UN resolution.” (The Guardian, March 26, 2007)

A Times leader commented:

“Bordering on Barbarity: Iran’s despicable treatment of British hostages leaves it isolated.” (The Times, March 31, 2007)

This was an act of “piracy”, obviously. But more than that, it was a casus belli for war. Melanie Phillips wrote in the Daily Mail:

“Britain seems to be in some kind of dreamworld. There is no sense of urgency or crisis, no outpouring of anger. There seems to be virtually no grasp of what is at stake.

“Some commentators have languidly observed that in another age this would have been regarded as an act of war. What on earth are they talking about? It +is+ an act of war. There can hardly be a more blatant act of aggression than the kidnapping of another country’s military personnel.

“What clearly +does+ belong to another age is this country’s ability to understand the proper way to respond to an act of war. When his Marines were seized by the Iranians, the commander of HMS Cornwall, Commodore Nick Lambert, did nothing to stop them and later said it was probably all a misunderstanding. If Nelson had been such a diplomat in such circumstances, Trafalgar would surely have been lost.” (Phillips, ‘The appeasement of Iran,’ Daily Mail, March 28, 2007; http://www.melaniephillips.com/articles-new/?p=498)

None of the British sailors were harmed. None were killed while unarmed at point blank range with multiple shots to the head and body. None were grievously wounded, beaten, Tazered, tear-gassed or stun-bombed. None were refused medical attention while they lay dying at the point of a gun. Despite the complete absence of Iranian violence, journalists were appalled that the sailors had not responded with force. Tony Parsons wrote in the Mirror:

“The Americans are calling us wimps for allowing British sailors and marines to be kidnapped without a fight, and even bigger wimps for being so pathetically toothless in our response...

“There was a moment when military action was a possibility, and indeed the best option - and I'm not talking about sending a gunboat or sabre rattling. The 15 being held hostage were not bob-a-jobbing. They had guns, too - but they didn't use them to defend themselves. And HMS Cornwall, armed with enough firepower to blow a few Revolutionary Guards all the way back to downtown Tehran, was about as much use as a rubber duck.” (Parsons, ‘Toothless Britain takes it lion down,’ The Mirror, April 2, 2007)

Writing in the Daily Mail, Michael Seamark noted the “embarrassment over how and why Iran was able to seize the servicemen... without a shot being fired...” (Seamark, ‘Freedom!: Huge relief as our sailors head home,’ Daily Mail, April 5, 2007)

Stephen Glover wrote in the same paper:

“When the commander of a powerful Royal Navy warship allows a detachment of his personnel to be captured by a small Iranian force, it suggests that the British rules of engagement are at fault. So, too, the fact that the sailors failed to put up any fight in their own defence.” (Glover, ‘Thank God our servicemen are free, but make no mistake, this has been a humiliation for Britain,’ Daily Mail, April 5, 2007)

Melanie Phillips agreed:

“The reason Commodore Lambert did nothing to stop the Marines being taken was because the current rules of engagement forbid action which might escalate a crisis. That must change. We should state publicly that our rules of engagement are now being altered to allow us to defend ourselves.” (Phillips, op. cit.)

Not only did journalists lament the lack of a violent response to the non-violent Iranian action, the expectation indeed hope, Peter Wilby noted in the Guardian, was for a violent conclusion to the affair:

“The storyline had been mapped out. There would be blindfolded captives, torture and show trials. Britain would respond with Churchillian rhetoric, gunboats, SAS raids and stiff upper lips and, if it didn't, Tony Blair, along with Margaret Beckett's caravan, could be given one last kicking. Instead, we had an Easter ‘gift’ from President Ahmadinejad. The newspapers' disappointment at the peaceful end to a story that had been boiling up nicely was palpable.” (Wilby, ‘A sailors' story told without a hint of scepticism,’ The Guardian, April 9, 2007)

The disappointment was doubtless shared by the United States, which “offered to take military action on behalf of the 15 British sailors”, the Guardian reported:

“Pentagon officials asked their British counterparts: what do you want us to do? They offered a series of military options, a list which remains top secret given the mounting risk of war between the US and Iran.” (Ewen MacAskill, Julian Borger, Michael Howard and John Hooper, 'Iran crisis: Diplomacy: Americans offered "aggressive patrols" in Iranian airspace,’ The Guardian, April 7, 2007)

The Telegraph was incensed by the "hostage-taking", which it deemed an "outrage". (Leading article, ‘Iran's actions will only increase its isolation,’ The Telegraph, March 29, 2007)

A Times editorial raged:

“For more than four days British sailors and Marines have been imprisoned in Iran. They have been interrogated, psychologically abused, denied access to the outside world and pressured into giving ‘confessions’. The 15 were seized at gunpoint by armed Iranian Revolutionary Guards... Their kidnapping is an outrage. In earlier times it would have been an immediate casus belli [for war]. It would fully justify the use of force to obtain their release. There is, however, an even greater outrage compounding this insult to international law: the pusillanimous timidity of British officials and politicians, who have failed disgracefully to confront Iran with the ultimatum this flagrant aggression demands.” (Leading article, ‘Britain's Hostage Crisis,’ The Times, March 27, 2007)

The Times’ editors sneered bitterly at Iranian propaganda claims that the sailors were being “well-treated”:

“What ‘well treated’ means can well be imagined: some of the Britons who were seized in a similar incident three years ago have described the mock executions, the psychological torture and the intimidating way that their captors tried to force admissions of guilt.” (Ibid.)

Truly the Iranians must be demons in human form. The crew +were+ repeatedly questioned, the Sunday Times reported two years later, "but in a friendly way,” according to the sailors. One of them, Bloomer, recalled:

“‘For the first few days the door was locked all the time, then gradually it was left open more often, till one evening one of the guards asked if we wanted to sit out on the patio and watch a football match on TV,’ Bloomer says. The Iranian guards were, in fact ‘excellent hosts’.

“‘We were brought three meals a day, crisps and snacks. We always had a bowl of fresh fruit. If anything, we may be a bit overweight because they were feeding us so much. They discovered one of us liked Iran tea, so it arrived by the flask.’

“There were two beds in the room. The younger guys allotted one to Bloomer and took turns at sleeping on the floor. ‘It was a bit like a camping trip, actually. It wasn't bad at all.’” (Margarette Driscoll, ‘Ordeal or adventure? I can't decide,’ Sunday Times, December 6, 2009)
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
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#5
Just to give this a bit of a boost. I referred to the first part in an earlier post (forgotten where)

It's a doozy - The Orwellian Newspeak of our MSM and even the 'better' journalists appear to be indignantly unaware of what they are doing.
Peter Presland

".....there is something far worse than Nazism, and that is the hubris of the Anglo-American fraternities, whose routine is to incite indigenous monsters to war, and steer the pandemonium to further their imperial aims"
Guido Preparata. Preface to 'Conjuring Hitler'[size=12][size=12]
"Never believe anything until it has been officially denied"
Claud Cockburn

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