Sunday, April 08, 2007

An Easter Gift to Iran

"There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We can reduce the focus to a soft blur, or sharpen it to crystal clarity. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to... The Outer Limits."

One good turn deserves another, no? It seems Iran has gotten some Easter gifts. Maybe I have been transported into the Twilight Zone; Catholic priests praise Iran, British soldiers thank Ahmadinejad and shake his hand, the captured sailors sell their stories, and the BBC cancels a planned 90-minute drama about Britain's first Victoria Cross winner (Britain's highest military honor) since 1982.

In response to Iran's return of its seized sailors as a "gift" to Britain: Fury as bishops back Iran

"The [British] Roman Catholic bishop who oversees the armed forces has provoked fury by praising the Iranian leadership for its "forgiveness" and "act of mercy" in freeing the 15 British sailors and marines last week."

It gets worse:

The 15 Royal Navy personnel held captive in Iraq last night appeared divided in their responses to the ordeal - and whether they would sell their stories to the media.

The highest profile member of the group, Leading Seaman Faye Turney, entered a deal with the Sun newspaper and ITV said to be worth £100,000 to tell her version of events. But one of her fellow former captives said he would give any money received to charity, and a third said he did not plan to speak to anyone other than his local newspaper.

It's heartening that at least one sailor has a conscience. Or, perhaps guilt, over the extraordinary scenes of elation the British sailors displayed thanking Iran after they were released, and shaking hands with their captor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Daily Telegraph: Extraordinary scenes as Iran frees sailors

In extraordinary scenes broadcast on Iranian state television immediately afterwards, Mr Ahmadinejad was shown speaking to several of the captured Britons, accepting their "apologies" for entering Iranian waters in front of the assembled television cameras.

Smiling broadly, the Iranian president shook hands with the captives, who were dressed for the occasion in new grey suits.

"I would like to thank yourself and the Iranian people," one was heard saying.

But Ahmadinejad added insult to injury before releasing the sailors by decorating the IRG troops who captured them. Is that worthy of thanks?

Earlier in the press conference, Mr Ahmadinejad decorated the commanders of the Revolutionary Guards who captured the British party, pinning medals on the chests of three officers.

Many Iranians called for the Brits to be executed, is that worthy of thanks? I should think not.

A number of Blogs have noted the fierce criticism of the British sailors. It's true that a number of American military personnel have been critical, as well as many American pundits and commentators. But here is what some Brits who commented online had to say:
Iran hasn't humiliated us, our sailors and marines have.

These English sailors and soldiers showed how far down has Little Britain fallen in self- regard. Imagine! How would have Lord Nelson, Winston Churchill or Maggie Thatcher have handled this war with Nazi Iran? Unlike, of course, ToothLess Tony. That goes without saying. Also imagine how American POWs from the Vietnam War reacted. How Americans held captive for 444 days in 1979-81 by these Nazi Iranians handled themselves.


The Brits are looking very French lately.

If there was any doubt as to the inherent bias among Britain's leading journalistic institution, there should not be any longer: Hero's tale is 'too positive' for the BBC

Amid the deaths and the grim daily struggle bravely borne by Britain's forces in southern Iraq, one tale of heroism stands out.

Private Johnson Beharry's courage in rescuing an ambushed foot patrol then, in a second act, saving his vehicle's crew despite his own terrible injuries earned him a Victoria Cross.

For the BBC, however, his story is "too positive" about the conflict.

The corporation has cancelled the commission for a 90-minute drama about Britain's youngest surviving Victoria Cross hero because it feared it would alienate members of the audience opposed to the war in Iraq.

The BBC's retreat from the project, which had the working title Victoria Cross, has sparked accusations of cowardice and will reignite the debate about the broadcaster's alleged lack of patriotism.

"The BBC has behaved in a cowardly fashion by pulling the plug on the project altogether," said a source close to the project. "It began to have second thoughts last year as the war in Iraq deteriorated. It felt it couldn't show anything with a degree of positivity about the conflict.

"It needed to tell stories about Iraq which reflected the fact that some members of the audience didn't approve of what was going on. Obviously a story about Johnson Beharry could never do that. You couldn't have a scene where he suddenly turned around and denounced the war because he just wouldn't do that.

Do not adjust your television set.

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