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British papers on the British sailors

Posted by Evan Hughes  April 3, 2007 08:12 AM

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The capture and detention of British Marines and sailors by Iran continues to run very high in the newspapers here in England -- higher than I would have expected. The coverage tends to be rather tendentious, in what some might call the English tradition. "NEW VIDEO TAUNTS BRITAIN," for example. These are clearly our boys who have been wrongfully seized.

The Times of London today publishes a column under the heading "World Briefing" lamenting that it has been "a difficult business for Britain to muster solid international support in the row with Tehran." Running alongside are pictures of all 15 detainees, some of whose names have not been released, and a box headed "What they said...and what they meant," which decodes the "hidden meanings and possible clues" in the detainee statements broadcast on Iranian television. Excerpts:

"Representative (sic) of the House of Commons" Leading Seaman Turney. Not a phrase used in Britain to refer to MPs. Evidence that the statement was dictated by someone else

"This has caused even more distrust for the people of Iran, and the whole area of the British"
Leading Seaman Turney
She has not corrected the glaring grammatical error of the "whole area of the British"

"Yes, I would like to say to the Iranian people, 'I can understand why you are so angry about our intrusion into your waters'"
Lieutenant Felix Carman
Evidence that the statements by the sailors and Marines is being controlled by their captors

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