The beginning of the end of professionalism

  Al94 09:48 08 Apr 2007

in our armed services must be getting closer with the decision to allow the returned hostages to sell their stories to the press click here. This must be either one of the most crass decisions which flies in the face of everything our services should be about or a cynical attempt to publicise a "version of events" that will attempt to win public sympathy and damn the Iranian authorities.

  Mr Mistoffelees 10:32 08 Apr 2007

that "a cynical attempt to publicise a "version of events" that will attempt to win public sympathy and damn the Iranian authorities." is the primary motive.

  Totally-braindead 10:34 08 Apr 2007

I found it rather amusing that the Iranians accused the hostages of being forced to make statements on behalf of the British government when they said about being hooded, pushed up against a wall and hearing guns being cocked, and the point they made about them telling the woman that the others had been freed and she was on her own.
Perhaps amusing isn't the right word as I don't think its humerous at all. Two faced would be closer.
The prisoners were held against their will and forced to make statements on TV by the Iranians then when they return to the UK and are on TV here they make statements about what happened and what do the Iranians do? Say that the statements they are now giving are under duress.
Don't see anyone here threatening to kill them or locking them up, do you?
Regarding them selling the stories I think its a bit crass as well but theres a precedent here, many people have written their stories before and I presume that the MOD have realised that with or without permission the stories will be written. Perhaps they agreed with some sort of previso about seeing it before its published?
Anyway I have no sympathy with the Iranians, were the Brits where they shouldn't have been or not? Even supposing they were in the wrong for whatever reason, would it not be more reasonable to arrest them and just hold them for a couple of days before handing them back. They kept them imprisoned for 12 days I think it was and forced them to go on TV and make statements. Any trouble the Iranians get from this they have asked for.

  Kate B 10:55 08 Apr 2007

Bang on, T-b. Crass, yes, but you're right, the stories will be written anyway so this way they'll be accurate and the people involved will make a bit of cash out of it. I doubt the papers would go along with giving the MoD prior approval, though.

  GANDALF <|:-)> 11:08 08 Apr 2007

"However, in exceptional circumstances such as the awarding of a Victoria Cross or events such as those in recent days, permission can be granted by commanding officers and the MoD." Oh puhleeeze, comparing abject failure with the being awarded the VC is really skimming the bottom of the pit. These marines are being used by HMGovt. as pawns in a weak propaganda war...isn't that what the Iranians tried to do with them or am I mistaken, so it looks like we are the same then. I would suggest that these hapless lot go and have a look at Abu Gharib before they start whining about how terribly they were treated. On the bright side though, at least they will have enough money to pay for the boat and equipment that they gave away. I fear that the story will be double dull - caught by nasty men in boats, hoiked to cells, blindfolded, fed, given a tongue lashing, displayed on TV, slept.

'One of the hostages, Dean Harris, 30, an acting sergeant in the Royal Marines, told a Sunday Times reporter yesterday: “I want £70,000. That is based on what the others have told me they have been offered. I know Faye has been offered a heck more than that. I am worth it because I was one of only two who didn’t crack.” if this report from The Times is true I would have left this loser in Iran and made him walk back home.
I seem to rember the recent ad campaign for the Royal marines...'99.9% need not apply'....yeah right.


  Jim Thing 11:48 08 Apr 2007

Andrew Roberts has an interesting piece in today's Sunday Times, comparing public attitudes to the recent Iranian hostage fiasco with the reactions to the death of Princess Diana.

Roberts states that the reaction to Diana's death "...highlighted the complete separation between New Brits (who emoted to the full) and Old Brits (who thought it all rather tasteless and overdone)." His point is that "... the rejoicing over the release of the 15 sailors and marines from captivity in Iran highlights the same split", and he surmises that "New Brits might expect the 15 to be awarded a commendation, perhaps even a medal, for the hardships involved in being deprived of their liberty for nearly a fortnight" while "Old Brits will wonder why nobody is disciplined for the fiasco which led to them divesting themselves of the Queen's uniform and then dressing in suits that look as if they were made by Ahmadinejab's tailor."

Roberts closes his article by quoting the Royal Marine lieutenant's obsequious words of thanks to the Iranians for being so nice to him and his shipmates, and says "If you think that sounds fine, then you're a New Brit. If your gorge rises, then you're definitely not."

That certainly puts me among the Old Brits and I suspect I'm not alone.

As for the returned hostages being allowed to sell their stories in the manner of alleged 'celebrities' evicted from Big Brother, words fail me. Do the panting tabloids compete to thrust shedloads of money at the grieving families of servicemen killed in Iraq or Afghanistan? I think not.

We used to be a proud and honest country. Whatever happened to us?

  Jim Thing 11:55 08 Apr 2007

I meant "servicemen and women" of course.

Sorry. Slip of the keyboard.

  Kate B 11:58 08 Apr 2007

I'm somewhere between the two. I think they showed bottle and fortitude in a very difficult situation but I'm not part of the emoting-like-mad-give-them-a-medal brigade.

  Belatucadrus 12:00 08 Apr 2007

I'm clearly in the category of "Old Brit" while I may argue chronological technicalities, Jim Young's definitions have me well and truly categorised.
I'm afraid the prospect of armed forces personnel being handsomely rewarded for abject failure by the gutter press while there are those who are injured or killed in the line of duty and get next to nothing is a ghastly indictment of modern society.

  spuds 12:55 08 Apr 2007

Once upon a time it was strictly forbidden (under the Secrets Act) for members of the armed forces and certain other establishments to give press interviews, or divulge intelligence of action information. This rule/law still applies today, and it as never been officially downgraded.

Since the days of SpyCatcher and the likes of Andy McNab, things have changed in favour of mega bucks instead of the Queens/King shilling. I wonder how many unforgotten hero's who have very remarkable stories to tell, are still out there, and still obeying the commands of silence!.

I mentioned in another thread about one of the released detainees being a 'local lad', living a very short distance from where I live, being a close knit community 'word as gotten around'. His involvement and that of the others, have gained international interest, because the media and perhaps governments have decided it so.

While he is returning home under a blaze of glory and hero worship (by some people), there is another story to be told.

Returning back in a body bag is a young (local) female soldier who was blown up by a road side bomb the other day. A couple of paragraphs or page in a newspaper seems to be her just rewards.

  Stuartli 12:58 08 Apr 2007

Our servicemen and women must wonder why they get paid so comparatively little when even average Premiership footballers earn upwards of £20,000 a week.

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