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Thursday, March 29, 2007 

The world was a mess but at least her hair was covered.

If there is one thing the British media can't be accused of, it's being predictable. You'd think that the fact that the 15 sailors being paraded on television is a potential breach of the Geneva convention would be enough, along with the fact that Faye Turney, who was predictably picked on, was given an obviously false statement to read, while a letter containing strange turns of phrase was presented that was intended to further cause humiliation and worry to her family. No, apparently the biggest insult is that she was "forced" to wear a headscarf:

There's this reactionary, ridiculous pile of crap from the Sun as well:

Then there is the personal degradation of making Faye wear a headscarf. As a woman excelling in a man’s world, she will be furious to have been belittled.

Oh, the inhumanity!

All of which only underlines the complete ignorance of Iran in general. All post-pubescent women, including foreigners in Iran are required, or if you prefer, forced, to wear the hijab, hence why female journalists wear headscarves in their reports. It was unlikely those holding Turney were going to make an exception for her, especially when the footage was broadcast on one of the most conservative satellite stations. If anything Turney actually got off lightly - her head-covering was loose, something that Ahmadinejad has tried to crackdown on.

The Scum's Tom Newton Dunn continues:

But worst of all, they have exploited the terror of Faye’s daughter Molly and her mum’s deep feelings for her.

Which the Sun clearly cannot be accused of doing themselves. For the simple reason that she's a woman, Turney has been the one sailor who's been focused on. The Sun has printed details about her family and her nickname, emphasising that she's a mother with a young daughter. Her family had asked the media to kindly stick their mock concern where the sun doesn't shine, which only encouraged them to dig even deeper. Anne Perkins develops this further. Who can blame the Iranians for doing the exact same thing when the tabloid media in this country is only too happy to play with emotions in such a way?

Parading captured troops in public is a war crime. Britain would never do it.

No, our brave boys would never do something so dastardly. They'd close ranks and suffer collective amnesia instead.

We could additionally argue all day and all night about whether the sailors were in Iraqi or Iranian waters. It doesn't matter. Even if a breach had taken place, the issue could have been easily resolved without the Iranians taking the sailors captive. The manner of their capture suggests that this was planned in advance, either as a response to the looming tightening of sanctions over Iran's nuclear program or to try to use them as a bargaining chip to free the five Iranians seized by the Americans in Irbil.

The criticism on the Daily Mail's front page is similarly disingenuous. Just what else do they suggest should be done? The diplomatic avenue is the only avenue, even when everyone's favourite gung-ho writer of shitty espionage fiction suggests that the appearance of the sailors helps because it gives "our troops clues where they are", as if we're going to storm a raid without the Iranians noticing the infringing of their airspace. As the Guardian leader argues, this whole incident has only helped to show how difficult it is to trust Tehran. They now have to find a way to free the soldiers without losing further face, and at the moment seem to be floundering, making excuses for not releasing Turney as promised. Tehran is of course not only playing for the international community, but for its own population, who for the moment due to the extended Iranian new year holiday are reported to be largely ignorant of the current situation. The liberal opposition in Iran can only be strengthened by the eventual release of the hostages, showing the revolutionary guard, closely aligned to the hard-line taken by Ahmadinejad, as weak. This might be one of the few pluses to come out of a regrettable and thoroughly avoidable crisis.

P.S. The Sun continues to reprint the lies of Ian Huntley today, without bothering to mention that Carr's evidence at the trial makes clear that she did not know that Huntley was responsible for the murders until he himself gave his side of the story. His entire "confession" tape is tainted by the fact that he still refuses to own up to how he murdered the two girls in cold blood -- he repeats his wholly unbelievable and laughable story that he gave in court, that one of the girls died after falling in the bath, while he unintentionally smothered the other by accident, trying to keep her quiet. The Sun's behaviour in bringing all this back up purely in an attempt to smear Carr is indefensible - it would rather believe and print the lies of a murderer than accept that Carr's acquittal was sound.

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Oh, the humiliation!!
If being forced to wear a black headscarf is an insult, what the hell is being forced to wear a bright orange boilersuit?!?

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