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Now we can guess why the female sailor didn't appear at the Good Friday press conference. She was aiming to maximise her fee. I am so ashamed of these sailors.

I also am ashamed and disgusted, and the idea the Navy condones it is awful.

I am heartened by the Tory leadership's refusal to canonise the cowardice and veniality shown here.

Selling their stories. Will ballotboy apologise now?

I do not support the way that the Royal Navy has handled this matter, start to finish. However, I have been quite sickened by Tory T's ready condemnation, on this thread and elsewhere, of the ratings involved. When did HE and his other censorious soul-mates last look down the wrong end of the barrels of heavy machine guns and rocket propelled grenades? Maybe I should simply defer to his instinctive heroism, but I suspect that it is all a tasteless display of vainglorious bluster.

My disgust is widely shared, I am glad to say. Read any online comments section of any major newspaper article. Plenty of those who excused the apologies, thanks, acceptance of goodie bags and calls for our forces to leave Iraq will be pushed to condemn by the Max Cliffording of these Brave Sir Robins.

I am not a soldier. But I could have reacted in no more cowardly way than they did. I could only have gone on tv with nautical maps, apologised, sucked up to a tyrant and condemned my fellow servicepeople's military ops.

By their own admission they were not tortured and heard cocked weapons but were not (they said themselves) put through mock executions. Instead the worst that happened to them was threats of prison, a few days of solitary, blindfolds and no beds. For this, they went on TV.

And for this they are about to flog their stories to the News of the World.

Completely unacceptable.

Well done for Liam for sticking his head above the parapet and daring to criticise the released hostages. The Navy has behaved terribly over this one. For a start, the sailors and marines should not have been captured in the first place. A senior head should roll for that gaff. Then they should have given name, rank and number only. To parade themselves like performing dogs for the Iranians was awful. And to sell their stories, well, it's so outrageous one can barely get the words out. What the hell has happened to the Royal Navy? What a shoddy little service it has become. Never been the same since Nigel Essenhigh left.

There has been much criticism of the suits that the Iranians forced the hostages to wear - except from the two Marines who thought they fitted rather well...

"Voiced his concerns?" With that mild as milk comment? Is that really the best he can do?

Where are the demands for a Board of Inquiry, the imposition of proper military discipline and an end to the Labour Government's cover-up, using the ploy of burying the detail in a torrent of "human interest" garbage?

Concerned? Fox should be incandescent!

I think that Tory T misses the point. The sailors and Marines acted as well as they could under the circumstances of their abduction. Talk of cowardice is hardly appropriate unless you are in possession of all the facts, which clearly she is not.

What IS wrong, however is the Navy allowing them to sell their stories to the Media. These are in no way the exeptional circumstances as referred to by the MOD and allowing it simply undermines the professionalism of everyone serving in combat operations.

Most of the media (with honourable exceptions) view the millitary in a sentimental and one dimensional way and this will hardly help!

Posted on Euroreferendum Blog......about a real Royal Navy before kiss-and-tell

HMS Amethyst

I think David Brackenbury misses the point. Until there has been a formal Board of Inquiry and an official report, none of us are in a position to do anything other than speculate.

In refusing to hold a Board, and instead relying on a watered-down "lessons learned" inquiry the Government has thereby prevented a proper resolution of an issue which has made the Royal Navy a laughing stock and damaged the credibility of HM Armed Forces and the UK.

As to the conduct of the boarding team, Brackenbury is drawing his own frame of reference far too tightly. From the accounts given, it appears the officers had absolutely no option but to order the team to surrender. But there is the wider question of how the officers allowed themeselves and their team to get into such a vulnerable position.

All the indications are that the team failed completely to assess properly the external threat and lacked almost totally any tactical discipline.

Why this was the case remains to be seen, an issue which would properly have been the subject of a Board of Inquiry, from which Courts Martial may well have ensued.

By avoiding proper examination of the issue, therefore, the Labour Goverment has turned this unhappy episode into a charade. The Tory Front Bench should be ripping throats out, politically, at this point. Instead, it seems - as is so often the case - they appear to have lost the plot.

What next the film?

Good luck to the hostages. Who wouldn't want to hear of stirring tales such as "How we got threatened and abused and weren't even on the streets of London at the time"
... To which Leading Seaman Turney can add a supplement (to justify her higher price):
"and how Government childcare provisions are woefully inadequate for shiftworking employees overseas".

Publicity of the sailors stories will help counter Iranian and Liberal propaganda that claimed that the Iranians were not at fault, the sailors can give their side about how they were pressured into saying that the Iranian version of things was correct and how they were clearly seized in Iraqi waters while on operations sanctioned by the UN Security Council and Iraqi government.

So long as no security sensitive information is released then I see no problem, no doubt their stories will be scrutinised by authorities prior to publication. No one seems to have any problem with people such as Winston Churchill publishing diaries of military campaigns, and other former officers have done it before - they aren't members of the Intelligence Services or the SAS, they are sailors of low rank who had been following orders.

The "celebrity big brother" spectacle will add to the general view that the Royal Navy has gone soft and is no longer a force to be reckoned with. It will be treated with derision and contempt by the Arab "street" and embolden the terrorists. In a very real sense, therefore, this charade could cost lives.

The only way the sailors and marines should be giving their "side" of the story is to a Board of Inquiry.

Is the MOD the most inept ministry? Their decision is going to be of not benefit to the reputation of the Armed forces which at the moment need all the friends they can get.

The armed forces might be superb in battle but it seems as if they are not immune to the cultural malaise that encourages exhibitionism through offers of cash. I have family members who have suffered far more harrowing experiences (watching people next to them blown up) but they would be outraged at the suggestion that they should sell their war stories to the papers.

I think we need to know if the Secretary of State for Defence was involved in this authorisation.

Why shouldn't they be allowed to sell their stories? It means that the truth about their capture and treatment will reach more people - and will discredit Iran claims to be "reasonable" etc.

The fact that Sir Ming is also going round TV studios against selling thheir stories tell you all you need to know.

"The fact that Sir Ming is also going round TV studios against selling thheir stories tell you all you need to know."

That he comes from a generation where this sort of behaviour is frowned upon? Sir Ming might be a joke but I think he's right on this point. One can mock the outrage of elderly Colonel Blimps but the fact is that they fought in death-defying situations and didn't feel the need to sell their stories.

I think we need to be aware of what is going on here.

By allowing the former hostages to sell their stories, the MoD spin doctors will we fully aware that the media will go into a feeding frenzy and concentrate on the "human interest" aspects of the issue, turning it into a cross between "celebrity big brother" and a soap opera.

Any discussion of the more embarassing details - such as how the boarding team were placed in such a vulnerable position - will thus be drowned out by the "soap opera".

The government (the same government that has turned down a Board of Inquiry) and Senior Naval officiers will thus be able to slide away from any serious criticism and the weaknesses exposed by this issue will go unchecked.

The fact that Fox and his cohorts do not seem to have understood this does tend to explain why the Conservatives are no longer considered the natural party of government.

"Why shouldn't they be allowed to sell their stories? It means that the truth about their capture and treatment will reach more people - and will discredit Iran claims to be "reasonable" etc."

I'd have said it would make more likely that some of them would exaggerate to get a larger fee. Let's face it, our tabloids are not exactly known for their commitment to truth in such stories.

A "cock up" made even worse by the selling of stories, however from what I've heard mention of the fees, the Inland Revenue will do alright, taking 40% of the fee!

I understand from an interview on Radio 4 that the Royal Navy have now given up the patrols, not least because the Iranians now have our only 2 such patrol boats.

On a lighter note....or maybe not, won't the 15 service personel be suing the MOD....for putting them at risk....this whole matter could prove to be a "right earner"!

Bet your house that at least one of them will be on 'Celebrity Big Brother' quite soon.

Posted by: Paul Kennedy | April 08, 2007 at 13:55

"I understand from an interview on Radio 4 that the Royal Navy have now given up the patrols, not least because the Iranians now have our only 2 such patrol boats."

Dear God! This was announced on Friday morning by Admiral Band, when he said that the Cornwall had been "stood down" in order for a review of procedures to take place. He did, however, also say that the work of the Coalition Task Force (CTF 158) would continue, under British Command.

In the programme to which you refer, howevever, the ever dim Shaun Ley has taken this to mean that no patrols are being carried out. In fact, there are still 11 warships on station in the operational area, as part of CTF 158, including other British vessels (2), Iraqi Navy, US and Australian assets.

The US commander in place has emphasised that operations are continuing as normal, and boardings are still taking place.

From the way the BBC is presenting this, you would get the impression that this was an all-British show. It never was, and it is not now.

"What next the film?"

I wouldn't hold your breath...!

"Bet your house that at least one of them will be on 'Celebrity Big Brother' quite soon."

Hilarious, houndtang. But very possible. I see:
fashion shoots (for Faye),
kiss and tell stories (for exgirlfriends of the others),
appearances at movie premieres (for all 15), and
book deals, serialised in a tabloid.

And a knighthood for Commodore Nick Lambert.

I see:
fashion shoots (for Faye),

Promoting her weight-reduction course no doubt

I think Liam Fox was totally right to raise those concerns in the way that he did.

What the sailors are doing falls short of the standards we expect of our armed forces.

I do think however that some of the media commentators may have missed a trick with this story.

By allowing the sailors and marines to sell their stories to the newspapers, the MOD (and quite possibly with indiscrete approval from Downing Street) have an opportunity to soften up the British public in the event of possible military engagements with Iran in the future (in relation to the nuclear weapons issue).

Depending on the detail and content of what is published in the newspapers, this could be a very useful first step in any future attempts at persuading the British public to support military action against Iran.

Publishing details of how the sailors were kept blindfolded and tied up etc could mean much more support for military action against Iran than there would otherwise be.

This is not to say that there will be military action against Iran over the nuclear weapons issue, but simply that this option is still one that has not been ruled out by the Americans or by us.

However, the growing backlash against the selling of these stories to the newspapers may very well undermine and overshadow these PR efforts by the government anyway.

It is not enough for Liam Fox just to deplore the sale of the stories and confine his criticism to the conduct of junior ranks. The senior officers who made the command decisions appear to be hiding behind their junior ranks and escaping scrutiny.

Fox's job as opposition spokesman is to get to the bottom of this affair, hold the government to account (and, by inference, the senior officers) insisting that it identifies failures and takes the correct remedial actions - which may or many not include court martialling officers throughout the chain of command.

So far, I have not seen (or heard) any evidence of him so doing. It is now four clear days since we had confirmation that there would be no Board of Inquiry, in clear breach of precedent, and there has not been one squeak of protest of Fox.

In accepting without protest the decision not to have a Board of Inquiry, Fox has apparently accepted a condoned a situation where the full facts will not come out, which means that neither the Armed Forces nor the public have been well served. That would suggest also that we have not been well-served by Dr Fox.

I can only assume that the Government want to try and get the truth out there to counteract the constant Iranian rubbish they keep spouting.

Did anyone see that they want us to negotiate with the USA to free five Iranian prisoners - all because they were good enough to release our personnel. They really are taking the piss.

Posted by: EML | April 08, 2007 at 16:25

"I can only assume that the Government want to try and get the truth out there to counteract the constant Iranian rubbish they keep spouting."

Are you listening to yourself? Since when did this government ever have any respect for the truth? More likely, it is covering up its own negligence and that of the senior command. And, as long as this charade continues, it will continue to get away with it.

When are people going to focus on the main issue, as to why the Royal Naval boarding team was left in a vulnerable, exposed position - despite there being 12 coalition warships in the operational area - enabling lightly armed Iranian motor boats to swoop in to abduct our personnel and steal their equipment?

If that basic defect had not occurred, none of the rest would have happened.

When is the Government going to demand the return of the equipment stolen by Iran ?

Or do we simply impound Iranian aircraft until they return our property ?

Did they return the boats seized in 2004 ?

Seemingly we do not get our property returned y pirates

On 21 June 2004,[108] eight British servicemen were detained for three days, after Iran said they had entered Iranian territorial waters in somewhat similar circumstance. They were released unharmed after the British and Iranian governments agreed there had been a misunderstanding. Their equipment was not returned and a rigid inflatable boat (RIB) was put on display in a museum in Tehran.

It's the blatant lies that get me. At an eraly press conference back in the UK the hostages said they were treated well, were not threatened and were certainly not placed before a mock firing squad.

At a subsequent press conference thay now claim they were put before a mock firing squad.

Who the hell is daft enough to believ that?

As for selling their "stories" that just puts the tin bloody hat on it.

Disgraceful and demeaning to our country.

Completely agree with Richard North. The real story is the incompetence of Government and the Royal Navy in the conduct of the operation.

The tawdriness of the selling of the stories compounds this picture of a cheap, incompetent and sleazy adminstration.

25 years ago a small band of marines took on an Argentine invasion force to defend the Governor's residence. A few weeks later 8000 miles from base, dependent on a fleet thrown together in a rush, short of air cover and with vital supplies sunk on the Atlantic Conveyor and at the cost of over 1000 killed and wounded the British armed services regained the Falklands. A generation later we get this.

Remember Monty Python and the Spanish Inquisition sketch?

Those ruthless Iranian torturers must have remembered it, that's why they put our brave young marines into the COMFY CHAIR!!

Oh God no! Not the COMFY CHAIR!!!!

Such vile torture, yet our heroic naval comrades live to tell the tale (and cash in by selling it to the taloids)

I see our brave sailors are going to sell the stories of their heroic resistance to their Iranian torturers.

It's only fair that they cash in on their courage and stoicism in the face of intimidation and terror.

Perhaps they should all be awarded the Victoria Cross aswell.

If only one of them had been black....

Comfy chairs?

Love it!


The Royal Navy can't get their personnel to do much exercise. Judging from the look of her, I would have said that Leading Seaman Turney had spent rather too long in the cookie jar and not enough time running over assault courses.

They had itchy blankets too don't forget.

I hope to God that the evil cardinals, I mean the wicked Iranian torturers, didn't poke the heroic hostages with THE SOFT CUSHION!!

Courageous Ms Turney deserves her £150,000 from The Sun for such extreme suffering. At least it may allow her to ease her trauma with daily takeaway's of Kentucky Fried Chicken and Maccy D's.

Those squaddies down in Basra and Afghanistan have got it easy in comparison with what these naval heroes have been through.

The country has truly gone mad,



There seem to be three of the 15 who look embarrassed by the attention - maybe there is some hope.

That link is a dead-end Ted

After 10 years of New Labour I didn't think things could sink much lower but I was wrong.

The thought of fat Faye Turney getting £150k from The Sun for her moronic chavlike collaboration turns my stomach and is a gross insult to those fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan and to all those who have died for Blair's folly.

This country really needs turning round, and fast!

This Bliar inspired stunt brings Britain and it's armed services into disrepute and ridicule throughout the world and marks a new low even for this corrupt administration.

It almost seems that New Labour, and particularly Blair and Brown, are deliberately setting out to destroy the finest institutions of this country.

To what ends, I wonder? And who is going to stop them?

"The fact that Fox and his cohorts do not seem to have understood this does tend to explain why the Conservatives are no longer considered the natural party of government."

Richard, I agree. The under-performance of our current stock of Conservative MPs (not just on this issue) is deeply worrying and, on bad days, makes me fear victory in the next election.

Gutter journalism corrupts everything it touches - let's face it, how many people would refuse £150,000 to tell a story? (let alone someone on the derisory salaries we pay the military).

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